Abusive callers enjoying the discomfort of their victims may have the last laugh by making use of technological innovations. The key to the fun is the ability not to get caught and that is what the callers manage ingeniously, leaving the police flabbergasted. And criminals and frauds too are not far behind in taking advantage of this method.
It was a month ago that the state high-tech crime inquiry cell received a complaint from a school in the city about an abusive call from an anonymous number. In a month, there were around 8000 calls from the same number - all to the phone numbers of the girls in the school. But the cell personnel could not trace the number as it had originated from voice-over internet protocol (VOIP).
The VOIP technology which allows one to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line has become the new challenge to the cops in tracing criminals or those who indulge in frauds. As the VOIP calls do not carry a particular number, tracing the number is almost impossible.
“When we tried to trace the number it was found that from the same number some other women received calls from their relatives working in a Gulf country, which obviously were not abusive,” a source said. As the criminals are updating themselves, the cops are finding it difficult to keep pace with them. The VOIP is their latest challenge.
The calls originate in foreign countries, especially in the Gulf. Sometimes, the region details may not also be correct. There are on an average five to six complaints received by the cell in connection with the VOIP calls.
“The number is increasing” said N Vinayakumaran Nair, Assistant Commissioner, high-tech inquiry cell. “Sometimes at the receiving end the originating location may be shown as Indonesia. But actually it might have originated from some other country,” said an IT expert who preferred anonymity. V K Adarsh, a technical manager with a public sector bank, said that when VOIP is used through Skype, a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the internet, it is not always possible to trace the number. “Only a default number will be shown in such calls. The only option to trace the computer IP number may not be helpful,” Adarsh said.
Unni R, an NRI hailing from Kollam, said that in Gulf countries data cards are available to make internet calls which reduce the cost compared to the authorised calling methods. “In such calls many persons can get the same number. Though it could be restricted through constant police checks, I think it still continues,” said Unni.