Today’s post is a guest article written by Carla.
In February 2007, three families, including the Kuykendall family, started receiving strange phone calls from an unknown source. It all started when Courtney Kuykendall’s phone started acting weird and sending text messages to her friends and family. It was odd, but didn’t seem too alarming at the time. The family chalked it up to interference or a glitch by the cell phone carrier.
Things took an alarming turn, however, when Courtney’s family received numerous threatening calls. These calls included death threats towards the lives of her family, pets and grandparents. Naturally concerned, the family alerted the authorities. The police listened to the calls and tried to determine where they were originating from.
It’s easy to think that this was a dark prank by someone with nothing better to do than to make threatening and harassing phone calls. When the trace came back, the phone calls seemed to originate from Courtney’s phone. Understandably, many people thought the whole situation was a hoax. But why would someone threaten his or her own family?
Even if it wasn’t Courtney, it could have been a simple case of Courtney’s phone data being intercepted, stolen and hacked. It’s possible that the online security of her phone was compromised, even on a home WiFi network. However, the creepy thing was, even after Courtney turned her phone off, the calls to her family kept coming.
It continued to escalate but now the phone calls and messages were also coming from other family members’ phones. These phones would also turn on all by themselves, and the ringtones and phone settings would consistently change.
In addition to threatening calls, the family started to suspect their everyday activities were being monitored through their phones. The mysterious caller would be able to identify the specific clothes they were wearing. They could also identify who was in the house and which family members were away.
The Kuykendalls took numerous security measures such as installing a home security system. Shortly after, they received a voice mail saying, “I know the security code.” They also turned off all the phones in the house. However, the mysterious caller was able to remotely power on the phones that had been turned off.
The police were involved numerous times. On one visit, they received a voice mail of the conversations of the house, including a recorded conversation with police.
You might be wondering why the Kuykendalls didn’t just replace the phones and change providers? They did so three times. Each time they would shortly receive a new message from the caller. The phone calls, messages and strange phone behavior continued every night for four months before it suddenly stopped. No one was ever caught.
Now it might have been some elaborate hoax created by the family; however, they weren’t the only ones. Two other families on the same street had similar stories. These families did know each other, but would all of them choose to make things up as a team? I don’t think so.
Phone companies insisted the stalking couldn’t be possible, while the local police were dumbfounded by the calls. They had no leads and had little idea how the caller could accomplish this. The police even investigated the family themselves. They had taken Courtney’s phone away from her, yet the calls continued.
So what could be a reasonable explanation? There is something called ‘spoofing’ which allows a hacker to manipulate or conceal the phone number when calling. It’s what may have enabled the caller to make the messages appear that they originated from Courtney’s phone.
Disturbingly enough, it is not that difficult to ‘spoof’ a phone. The only way to stop someone from doing this is to have up-to-date phone security software or use a VPN service to hide your IP Address. However, spoofing doesn’t allow someone to change the settings of the phone. To do this, the caller would have to have remotely hacked the phone. This is called ‘cloning’ and creates a virtual copy of the victim’s phone, giving the caller the same access to Courtney’s phone as she had.
But even spoofing and cloning a phone still wouldn’t allow someone to record conversations and turn the phone off. This would involve directly hacking the carrier to gain access to these conversations. Not an easy task! If this was a hack, it was highly elaborate for this to all happen in such a brief period. You must wonder why someone would want to do this to an every-day suburban family.
What do you think of these calls? Do you think it was an elaborate hoax by the families, or some malicious hacker? If it was a hacker, how do you think they did it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Carla is a blogger for The Right Side of Truth and a self-confessed mystery buff. She grew up reading everything from Agatha Christie to Truman Capote. This, combined with a natural curiosity, has driven her to figure out the truth behind the bizarre and mysterious.