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  • Cheryl Tan

Chinese Magician Shows Off Alleged New Number Masking Scam Tactic On TikTok

Phishing phone calls are so 2021. A now-deleted TikTok video from a Chinese magician has shown off an incredibly high-tech method using a number masking app, voice changer and software to trick people into believing they're speaking with someone they know.

Credit: 高雨田的魔法

In the video, the magician collaborates with the police to show them a new scam method. He enlists the help of an assistant to pretend as if they're filming a variety show that requires them to go around the streets asking people to call their parents, while requiring the assistant to secretly tap a ring to the victim's phone to initiate the download of a number masking app.

Once downloaded, this app will allow scammers to choose any contact in the phone to be displayed when the scammer calls the victim. Additionally, the reason for getting people on the streets to call their parents is to be able to record the voice with a hidden microphone, thus allowing for the scammer to use that as the basis for a voice changer software and better convince the victim that they're actually speaking to that person.

Credit: 高雨田的魔法

In the video, the assistant gets the victim to call his mother and chat for a few minutes on speaker, with the magician then using the voice changer software to analyse and imitate the tone and voice of the victim's mother. After that, the magician uses the number masking app to pretend as if the mother is calling the victim, and he then says that the victim's father has fallen down the stairs and is in the hospital.

At this point, the magician explains that this scam is also partly psychological, and plays on the anxiety of the victim. After hanging up halfway, he correctly predicts that the victim will be worried enough about his father to call back, and he says that at this point, the victim will definitely transfer money if asked to.

While it's an interesting look at what's possible, there are some problems that make us think this is fake. For one, it's not very feasible for most scammers to pull off such an elaborate scam involving voice changers, hacking into someone's phone to install apps and more. Secondly, most people won't allow a stranger to touch their phone, which is apparently needed for the number masking app to be installed.

Credit: 高雨田的魔法

Thirdly, in the video, they show the ring being tapped to the side of a phone, which isn't where the NFC area on a phone typically is. To the best of our knowledge, there's no way for apps to automatically be downloaded without the user's approval either. Of course, there could be some sort of hacking going on in the background that we're unaware of, but overall, the video just doesn't seem very credible, so there's most likely not too much to worry about now.

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