There is a cautionary notice out in the wild about how dialling #09, 90#, or #90, depending on what version of the notice you come across, will result in your personal data being breached, including having your contact list and any bank details or credit card information on your phone copied.
According to the notice, certain international numbers, run by scammers, will call you and should you dial #09, #90, or 90# during the telephone call, your personal information gets stolen. The first time I read this message, I wondered who it is that comes up with these hoaxes. There is always a new one showing up every other year. Let me address this hoax and tell you what happens when you dial these numbers on your cell phone.
Here is one version of the notice. I call it the extended version:
Please pass this message to your family and friends NOW.
People have been receiving calls from
or any number starting from +371 +375 +381
These guys only ring once and hang up. If you call back, they can copy your contact list in 3 seconds and if you have a bank or credit card details on your phone, they can copy that too.
+375 code is for Belarus.
+371 code is for Lativa.
Don’t answer or call back.
Also, don’t press 90# or #09 on your cell phone when asked by any caller to do so. It’s a new trick which is used to access your SIM card, make calls at your expense and frame you as a criminal.
URGENTLY FORWARD this message to as many friends as you can to stop any intrusion!!! Note that these numbers are owned by fraudsters.
Another version of the message leaves out the part about being called by any number:
Please take care If Some One Asks You To Dial #09 or #90. Please Do Not Dial This When Asked. Please circulate Urgently.
If you receive a phone call on your cell phone from any person saying that they are checking your mobile line, and you have to press #90 or #09 or any other number. End this call immediately without pressing any numbers. Team there is a fraud company using a device that once you press #90 or #09 they can access your SIM card and make calls at your expense. Forward this message to as many friends as u can, to stop it. This information has been confirmed by both Motorola and Nokia. There are over 3 million affected mobile phones.
What happens if you dial #09, 90# or #90 on your cell phone?
Absolutely nothing. Those codes are not recognized by your smartphone or any kind of mobile phone for that matter. I dialled them; absolutely nothing happens. Dialling #09, 90# or #90 on your cell phone does not expose you to any form of data breach or identity theft.
Where did this hoax originate from?
Hoaxes are usually based on a misunderstanding of some sort, so I dug around to find out where this one must have originated from. As it turns out, this one came from something that has to do with certain types of business phone systems that use PBX (private branch exchange) or PBAX (private automatic branch exchange) configurations.
These business phone system configurations are commonly utilized by businesses, hospitals, government agencies, and private organizations in the United States. In such setups, dialing 9 is a standard procedure to access an external line through call forwarding. However, scammers can take advantage of this by using numbers like #09 or #90 to gain unauthorized access to your phone line, potentially exploiting it for unfair purposes.
To protect against such scams, businesses using these phone systems are strongly advised to disallow call transfers to these specific numbers. Additionally, staff should be trained to recognize and handle potential scammers effectively. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States of America provides definitive guidelines in the reference section to help organizations avoid falling victim to such fraudulent schemes.
Again, cell phone users are not vulnerable to any such scams. Dialling those numbers on your phone is not a security risk of any sort.