Would YOU fall for it? Ethical hacker shows how easy it is to con people out of their personal details as he fools tech expert by pretending to call from Amazon in new Channel 5 programme
- Presenter Alexis Conran and hacker Mike Godfrey pretend to be from Amazon
- They spoofed a phone number, texting and calling journalist Willard Foxton
- Experiment carried out for new Channel 5 programme on tomorrow at 8pm
- They try ‘smishing’ which is faking a text that appears in your existing chat
This is the moment a technology fraud writer was conned into handing over his personal details after being duped by an ethical hacker for a new documentary.
Presenter Alexis Conran and hacker Mike Godfrey pretended to be from Amazon as they spoofed a phone number, texting and calling journalist Willard Foxton.
The experiment was carried out as part of a new Channel 5 programme called How To Stop Your Nuisance Calls which will be broadcast tomorrow night at 8pm.
The programme gave an example of number spoofing and ‘smishing’ – faking a text message that appears in your existing chat, which cannot be told apart from the real sender
Ethical hacker Mike Godfrey (left) and presenter Alexis Conran (right) pretend to be from Amazon as they spoof a phone number, texting and calling journalist Willard Foxton
It gave an example of number spoofing and ‘smishing’ – faking a text message that appears in your existing chat, which cannot be told apart from the real sender.
The duo began by sending Mr Foxton a text message saying they were from the retailer’s fraud team and had detected suspicious activity on his account.
The text to the unwitting – but chosen – victim said he should expect a call from the fraud department within the next few minutes and gave a phone number.
The message appeared to have been sent from a genuine Amazon phone number, before Mr Conran followed it up with a call from the fraud prevention number.
Mr Conran said in the call: ‘Good afternoon, am I speaking to Mr Foxton? I’m calling from the Amazon fraud department here.
The message appeared to have been sent from a genuine Amazon phone number, before Mr Conran followed it up with a call from the fraud prevention number
The text message sent to the unwitting – but chosen – victim said he should expect a call from the fraud department within the next few minutes and gave a phone number
‘I believe your received a text message from us pre-empting this call? There’s been some suspicious activity on your Amazon account.
‘I just need to verify some details with you before we proceed. Could you give me your first name and your postcode please?’
Top tips on how to protect yourself from mobile phone fraud
The programme included tips on how people can protect themselves from suffering from fraud carried out through mobile phone messages:
- Think before you click a text link or before doing anything for someone over the phone
- Never give out own info or details to someone who’s contacted you (rather than you making the call)
- Don’t contact the number on the text message you receive – use the number on the back of your bank card or from the organisation’s website (NHS/retailer/other trusted organisation).
- Register with a telephone preference service
- Use call blockers
Mr Foxton then went onto give the details requested, as well as the last four digits on the credit card of his account and the last two transactions he had made.
Mr Conran then revealed his true identity, and asked former Daily Telegraph journalist Mr Foxton what had convinced him that the text and call were genuine.
Mr Foxton said: ‘It was the text message that I got that came from a number that I’d had texts from Amazon about deliveries before.’
He added: ‘I was completely fooled.’
The show also hears from one victim who lost £20,000 to fraudsters pretending to be his bank, and another brainwashed into thinking the FBI were monitoring her.
It also warns that spoofing software and mobile call centre software are easily obtainable online so fraudsters only need a laptop to carry out their attacks.
In addition, the programme highlights how illegal personal data can be sold on mainstream sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – not just the dark web.
An Amazon spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘We take phishing and spoofing attempts on our customers seriously, and will never call or text a customer for payment or for their personal information outside of our website.
‘If a customer has concerns or receives a call or text they believe is not from Amazon, they can check the Amazon.co.uk help pages for guidance using this link.’
How To Stop Your Nuisance Calls will be broadcast on Channel 5 tomorrow (Thursday, November 21) at 8pm