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Asked to give directions into phone, concerned

(50 Posts)
Coronation Wed 21-Feb-24 06:01:43

I was asked for directions and the family didn't understand. They shoved a phone into my face and used Google translate to understand.

It struck me they had a recording of my voice. It's unlikely anything will happen, but potential is there and it struck me that I don't think I'd do it again. Sad how helping someone has made me think that.

BlueBelle Wed 21-Feb-24 06:06:01

Are you a new poster Coronation ?

Coronation Wed 21-Feb-24 06:25:47

I post occasionally.

NotSpaghetti Wed 21-Feb-24 06:36:51

Were you out and about somewhere?
Presumably they were not English speakers?

If so, though a bit odd/awkward it probably just means they won't get lost as they can keep checking "which way next".

Coronation Wed 21-Feb-24 06:40:05

Yes English wasn't their first language.
It struck me they have a voice recording of my phone though and it concerned me.

Curtaintwitcher Wed 21-Feb-24 06:45:27

It's sad that we have to be so suspicious of everyone these days. Be careful of anyone asking for a 'light', as it could be a ruse to get you to open your handbag. It could also be a distraction while an accomplice creeps up behind you.
You are right to be concerned but there isn't much you can do about it now.

Coronation Wed 21-Feb-24 07:11:17

Thanks curtaintwitcher yes it's sad that I didn't realise until later what happened and caused suspicion. I think next time I'll be aware, but it's sad how as a society we have to be.

biglouis Wed 21-Feb-24 07:21:24

When I read threads like this I wonder how I a single woman (travelling independently) could have managed in countries like Syria, Iran and Nepal without getting robbed, beaten up or raped. I must have had guts of steel back in those days.

Coronation Wed 21-Feb-24 07:32:28

Yes it's fantastic what you achieved, I've only travelled independently in Europe so not as well travelled as you @biglouis.

I do think as you get older you're more aware of things, plus the world has changed. I think there have always been dodgy people, but now the tools are different. I'm also feeling vulnerable too for differnt issues so it's been really helpful to me to post

M0nica Wed 21-Feb-24 07:39:13

How on earth can total strangers use a recording of your voice giving them instructions for any nefarious purpose?

They do not know who you are, where you live or anything about you.

I agree that at any time, in any place, we have to use our common sense to protect ourselves from danger - and that includes being aware of cyber crime, but it does seem to me that some people are getting over concerned against remote, unlikely or impossible dangers.

I am going up to London on Saturday to visit a couple of exhibitions. An old lady, on her own, catching trains and walking the streets. Do I need an armed guard and should I be wearing aluminium foil from head to toe?

Marydoll Wed 21-Feb-24 07:48:31

Coronation, I can see where you are coming from.
I am very well qualified in IT and Internet safety and tend to be over suspicious. However, I too would have helped without thinking, then worried later.

I think you will be OK. Recently, there have been some posts, which have been suspicious, which is probably why Bluebelle asked if you are new.
I reported one yesterday, but don't worry, I won't be reporting you. 😉

Grammaretto Wed 21-Feb-24 08:29:47

I find it sad all this obsession with security.
Yesterday there was a cold caller on my landline , who I presumed was a genuine call from EE as I have just renewed my phone contract.
He was trying to sell me securuty for my home, I think, various gadgets to give me peace of mind grin

Having just returned from a month in NZ alone and without my smart phone since I accidentally left it on the plane out of Edinburgh, I can assure you that it is still just about possible to travel the world without a phone though not easy.

I asked at Edinburgh Airport on my return if there was a public phone so I could contact someone for a lift. There isn't.
I asked the airline staff if I could ring from their phones. Sorry but no, something to do with privacy.

Eventually I asked the guy pushing the baggage trollies if I could use his phone and he said yes of course!

NotSpaghetti Wed 21-Feb-24 08:35:36

I think it's a good idea to record directions actually.
I've sometimes got directions wrong when I'd slightly misremembered...

But probably they should have asked.

Sago Wed 21-Feb-24 08:38:27

Your voice recording is of no use to them without other details, DOB, name address etc.

flappergirl Wed 21-Feb-24 08:46:31

I always rely on my gut instinct in unusual situations. What sort of vibe did you get from these people? Having said that (though I'm no whizz with technology) I can't really see what they could do with your voice.

petra Wed 21-Feb-24 09:07:17


Your voice recording is of no use to them without other details, DOB, name address etc.

If a hacker had that voice recording they will have your ip address. From there they could do what they want.

Coronation if your really worried get a new IP address.

Oldnproud Wed 21-Feb-24 09:23:40

I am not sure that the people will have a recording of your voice anyway, Coronation. Given the circumstances you describe, I think it's much more likely that they were just using a translation app that instantly translated your spoken words into their own language on their phone screen.

As others have said, as they do not even have the most basic personal info about you, I don't think you have anything whatsoever to worry about.

Calipso Wed 21-Feb-24 09:24:55

They shoved a phone into my face and used Google translate to understand.

Can someone please explain to me how merely recording someone's voice on their (ie the person asking for directions) phone to use Google Translate can possibly reveal the OPs IP address? Coronation hasn't said that her phone was used 🤔

Elegran Wed 21-Feb-24 09:28:51

Drawing a diagram with road names on it - even a very rough one - would have given them a map to refer to, and not involved a voice recording.

However, if you are getting worried about it being recorded for translation, you will soon reach a point where you won't even speak directly to anyone in case they recording you secretly! That way lies paranoia.

You didn't give them your name, address, email address, bank account number and password, or anything else that would identify you or your money, so I think you should put it behind you.

Elegran Wed 21-Feb-24 09:30:47

Yes - As they used THEIR PHONE not yours, they won't even have you IP address.


Katie59 Wed 21-Feb-24 09:49:10

I have used Translate to help a non English speaker but on my phone it’s no security risk, the risk is having your phone stolen when trying to help someone.

Coronation Wed 21-Feb-24 13:53:45

Thanks everybody. My Bluetooth was on, but I agree it's unlikely anything will happen.

grannyactivist Wed 21-Feb-24 14:03:56

I take the view that the vast majority of people I meet have no ill intent and on that basis I tend not to worry when asked for help. I have worked for most of my life with some people who are on the margins of society and have often been humbled by their kindness and generosity. I have also come across a few privileged people who would take the shirt from your back.

sandelf Wed 21-Feb-24 14:24:20

Ask them to delete it when they have finished with it.

Gummie Wed 21-Feb-24 14:39:34

Instead of being unnecessarily suspicious how about being proud of yourself for helping them out.