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Every cell phone is supposed to have a unique factory-set electronic serial number (ESN) and telephone number (MIN). A cloned cell phone is one that has been reprogrammed to transmit the ESN and MIN belonging to another (legitimate) cell phone. Unscrupulous people can obtain valid ESN/MIN combinations by illegally monitoring the radio wave transmissions from the cell phones of legitimate subscribers. After cloning, both the legitimate and the fraudulent cell phones have the same ESN/MIN combination and cellular systems cannot distinguish the cloned cell phone from the legitimate one. The legitimate phone user then gets billed for the cloned phone’s calls. Call your carrier if you think you have been a victim of cloning fraud. The fraudster can make calls on your behalf or send messages etc and it would be easy to tarnish your reputation in this manner. For cell phone cloning fraud, the cellular equipment manufacturing industry has deployed authentication systems that have proven to be a very effective countermeasure to cloning, however it still does happen.
There is another interesting method. There are chips available which can be set into a cell phone, you can then gift this cell phone to an unsuspecting victim, provided you know him. Perhaps you can make him win a contest of some sort. The cell phone now becomes your bug, something that the user is sure to carry around with him. You activate it by simply calling this fellow from a preset number. What happens is that he get no inkling that a call is being received, the phone automatically picks it u, there is no change in the display or any indication that the cell phone is now transmitting everything to the person at the other end. So if you are paranoid enough, it makes sense to not accept such gifts from people. If you don’t have any security threat then chances are no ones going to gift you one either! Of course to counter the threat of electronic eavesdropping there are counter measures available such as encryption. Again its not for the usual people, wont be cost effective that way, but you can always find more details. It is an entirely different topic per se and would make material for another article. So keep coming back!