Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In this post, I am going to relate a WhatsApp call that I received on the 13th of October, 2020 from a scammer who was trying to social engineer my personal details. The call was from the following number: +92 303 8873184. Here is a transcript of what happened and I will analyze what happened and how it all unravelled. From the looks of it, the person at the other of the call had a list of all the National ID numbers.

Scammer:
Good morning Sir, I am William Paul and I am calling from the MCB.
I am happy to announce that you have won a cash prize of Rs 500,000 in our lucky draw.

Suyash:
That’s nice. Thank you for calling me.
Scammer:
Sir, we need some details from you so that we can ensure that you are the right person.
Suyash:
Sure. What do you need from me.
Scammer:
Can you please confirm your Identity card number?
Suyash:
Yes, sure..hmm..give me a second.
(Thinking about creating a dummy NIC number which is invalid)
Suyash:
So give me a second, I’m just removing my card from my wallet. Since, I am already there, could you tell me what information more you need so that I can just have all the information handy.
(At this stage, I am trying to get as much information from the scammer to know what information he is trying to get from me)
Scammer:
I just need the NIC for now, and I will tell you what I need afterwards.
(I did not insist)
Suyash:
(I invented an NIC number that I gave the person)
Scammer:
Thank you sir.
(After a few seconds)
I think there is a problem with your NIC number. Can you please give me the correct number?
Suyash:
That’s my correct NIC number.
By the way, where did you get my phone number?

Scammer:
We have that in our database, sir. Can you please give me your correct Identity number?
Suyash:
Do you want my passport number or my national identity number?
Scammer:
I need your national id number, your local one.
Suyash:
By the way, I didn’t hear anything about this lucky draw anywhere.
Scammer:
We are keeping this a secret sir.
Suyash:
I’m wondering, how do you know that my NIC number is not correct? Do you have a database of all the NIC numbers?
Scammer:
Yes sir.
Suyash:
So you want to say that you have the list of all NIC numbers? What if I am not a client of MCB?
Scammer:
We can check sir. We can check any NIC number? (WOW — this is interesting)
Suyash:
Do you have names associated with all the NIC numbers? What other details do you have associated with all the identity numbers?
Scammer:
Sir, we have the details. But we need to confirm your ID number. If you are wasting my time, please let me know. I need to call others who have won.
Suyash:
So, you’ve got a lot winners?
Scammer:
Yes. We have a lot of winners.
Suyash:
That’s a lot of money that the MCB is giving away, isn’t it?
Scammer:
Yes sir. That’s not only from the MCB. The government also is giving money away.
Suyash:
What ministry are you referring to when you are talking about the government?
(At this point, I am feeling his exasperation)
Scammer:
You know what? You are a maniac!! You are wasting my time. Please disconnect if you are not going to give me your identity number).
Suyash:
So, in that case, I won’t get the Rs 500,000? That’s a shame! (At this stage, I am just messing with him).
Scammer:
Exactly, you are just wasting my time.
(All hell breaks lose)
You are wasting my time, you are a f**king maniac. I will f**k your sister. Please disconnect now.
(And the guy disconnected)

Analysis

What is interesting is that the user checked the ID number rather quickly and he mentioned that he has a database of all the NICs in Mauritius. In my opinion, if the scammer did not have the list of all the NIC numbers, then he would not have been so confident in asking me the correct NIC number.

I also tried to elicit as much information as possible to be able to share with people and the authorities. The thing that is very worrying though is the idea that someone may have the list of all NIC numbers of Mauritians.

Experienced in the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology and Founder of Codevigor and Horizon Africa, companies focused on the use of Blockchain technology.