Secret Codes To Prevent Phone Snooping? Here's What They Actually Do

Viral message asks you to dial a set of unrelated vertical service codes to stop being monitored by "security agents".

A message going viral on WhatsApp claims that "security agents" are monitoring people's phone, and provides a set of unrelated call forwarding and call diverting service codes as a measure to secure phone lines.

BOOM received a message on its WhatsApp helpline number that claims that user data and calls are being monitored without their knowledge. The message went on to provide a set of steps to secure the phone lines.

The steps provided in the message are as follows:

  1. The message asks users to dial *#61# to know whether the phone line is being monitored. According to the message, if the users gets the message "Call Forwarded" upon dialing the code, it suggests that the call is being monitored.
  2. It also urges users to dial ##002# to "remove the monitoring device", and secure the phone line.

Fact Check

BOOM did a quick search of vertical service codes, like the ones provided in the message, to ascertain whether the steps mentioned in the message have any link to telephone devices being monitored. Since service codes are ubiquitous, it is in-built in every single phone around the world.

American computer magazine PCMag listed down a series of service codes in an article to "unlock hidden features". According to the article, the service code *#61# is aimed at providing information on the status of call forwarding on that phone. Call forwarding is a call management technique which allows users to redirect calls to a desired number in case of unavailability. Upon dialing the code, the user gets to know whether he/she has activated the service on their device.

It must be mentioned that the call forwarding service by itself has no link to phones being monitored - and can be activated and deactivated by the user.

Belgium telephone service provider Proximus also lists down a series of service codes related to call diversion - a feature similar to call forwarding. According to the FAQs, the service code ##002# is simply a method to deactivate "call divert" services, if the user had activated it previously.

The codes provided in the viral message are call forwarding and call diversion features, available in every cellular phone around the world. They do not reveal instances of calls or data being monitored by third parties, nor do they secure your calls from being monitored.

The entire narrative about "security agents" monitoring telephones is unrelated to these features.

Updated On: 2019-12-13T17:06:19+05:30
Claim :   Service codes *#61# and ##002# can be used to identify and secure your phone from being monitored by third parties.
Claimed By :  WhatsApp
Fact Check :  False
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