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:: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 ::

Perils of the Modern World

Without going into detail, it appears -- rather, it is certain -- that someone listened in on a phone conversation between two people I know.

Let us call them "Girl A" and "Girl B", "Stalker" and talk about the chain of events. Some noteable facts:

1) Girl A met Stalker. He went from "nice, if codependent" to "cut off for being creepy". Subsequently, "Stalker" has managed to access phone numbers he shouldn't be able to -- specifically, that of another man Girl A met well after Stalker got cut out.
2) Girl A, having found out that "Stalker" was harassing a guy she met, had her locks changed. She is still unsure as to how Stalker got the guy's phone number.
3) Girl A has changed her cell phone number -- because of Stalker calling it. She handed out that number ONLY via email -- but it does show up on caller ID.
4) Girl A and Girl B both own cordless phones.

So here is what has transpired over the last day. Girl A and Girl B have a conversation about (probably over cordless phones, but it's possible Girl A was on her new cell phone) how Stalker managed to get Girl A's new cell phone number. In it, Girl B mentions that according to a learned source (Girl B has a friend whose husband's actual JOB is the various methods of being a snoop, and how to prevent them and inquiries were made) the most likely method of getting the new cell phone number was to get the SSN of Girl A and call the cell phone company. With the SSN and an address. The general consensus was that maybe Stalker had done this, or maybe he had entered her apartment and gotten the number while she wasn't there -- prior to the locks being changed. (Probably by claiming to a maintance worker that he was the husband and had locked himself out, etc).

This was Saturdayish. Today, Girl A gets a text message on her cell phone stating "Tell Girl A not to worry, I don't have your SSN". Girl A resolves to go to the police after work -- for a restraining order at the least (I suggested pressing charges for eavesdropping, since Girl A and B will attest that information was shared solely in a private phone conversation).

Girl B has had her line checked (remotely by the phone company) for an illegal tap and suggested Girl A do the same when she gets home. Girl B is fairly certain there are no illegal devices in the house proper (nor did someone gain access to the Caller ID box in the house since Girl B owns large, noisy dogs).

Girl B is replacing her old cordless phone (probably 900 MHz and easily eavesdropped on) with a newer 2.4 or 5.8 GHZ phone tomorrow. Girl A has been advised to do the same or -- since the odds are Stalker is eavesdropping on HER and not Girl B -- to replace it with a corded phone for the time being, and to change her passwords (it's possible her email is being read) as well as to notify her apartment complex (again) that someone masquerading as a husband or relative might be stalking around. Also, it was suggested she check around for something like a baby monitor or other "cheap" eavesdropping device. A professional sweep (courtesy of the expert friend) might be arranged.

This is, as you imagine, highly upsetting for Girls A and B. Not to mention both are still worried over the ease (the number was acquired within DAYS) of Stalker getting her new cell phone number, and the quickness with which he began to send harassing phone calls to a guy she'd met (within hours of receiving a call).

The operative theory is still that the Stalker had access to her home -- either had managed to snake a key and have it copied, or by persuading some of the complex workers he should be let in -- and thus acquired her cell phone number AND the number of the "new guy". (The locks were changed AFTER the harassing phone calls and the acquisition of the new cell number).

It would appear Stalker has resorted to eavesdropping via scanner -- one hopes. The thought that Girl A or B's place might be bugged is disconcerting.

And that's been my introduction to the world of "Damn, your cordless phone is highly insecure!". (According to what I've found, eavesdropping on cellular signals is far more tricky). I plan to replace MY elderly phone relatively quickly.

Anyone have any thoughts? Suggestions? Paranoid worries? The police are being informed (and one hopes will be active) on the issue, but nonetheless.....

Perhaps one of you out there can answer this question: Does it require a physical tap to resolve Called ID signals? Are there scanners which can display caller ID from eavesdropped conversations (obviously, you have to be listening when it rings.....)

Update: Okay, this just gets weirder. Girl A had a conversation -- in her classroom (she's a teacher) on her cell phone, and had Stalker boy calling about it within minutes. Everything I've seen says, with modern cell phones, there is NO WAY he's bugging it. I don't think any cell phone plan (or cell phone cloning) will allow you to listen in on conversations from another phone. So either he's bugged her classroom, has a really good long-distance mike.....I have no idea.
:: Morat 12:28 PM :: ::

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