DORSET Police have urged people residing in or visiting the Lansdowne area of Bournemouth to turn off Bluetooth on their phones when not in use after reports of ‘bluebugging’ in the area.

‘Bluebugging’ is a hacking technique that allows individuals to access a device with a discoverable Bluetooth connection, allowing thieves to take full control of a device.

Police say they have received a received a report into this matter, enquiries are ongoing.

A Bournemouth masters student, who does not want to be named, said he was sent an automated message on three separate occasions and on two different devices when visiting the area.

"In December I was parked outside the Old Fire Station, I walked across the road to Holdenhurst Pharmacy to collect my prescription, I waited there for a few minutes and then went back to my car.

"In that time, someone tries to drop me a file.

"I got a new phone over New Year and parked up in the same spot to collect my prescription and I got exactly the same experience in exactly the same place. The next time I went, I went with my friend and both of us got it."

The messages reportedly contain a different file name but the same methodology. On an iPhone, it looks as if someone is trying to send the user contact details of another recipient.

A ‘bluebugger’ can wirelessly direct a mobile phone to make calls without the owner’s knowledge, and even access bank details and intercept calls.

‘Bluebugging’ has also been used by drug dealers across the country to discreetly send information over long distances.

The student added: “Given the concentration of students in the area, that it might just be a sophisticated way for an enterprising local drug dealer to advertise because it’s hard to trace, deniable, and easy to relocate.

“It is a very mixed area with a large amount of footfall and a large student population living there.

“There are obviously many bus stops on there where people do wait so they could be victims.”

In response to this, Dorset Police’s cybercrime team have encouraged people living near or visiting the Lansdowne area to turn off Bluetooth when visiting the area.

A spokesman from Dorset Police’s cybercrime team said: “As a rule of thumb, Bluetooth should be switched off when it is not required. This isn’t always possible, with many people having smart watches or other Bluetooth connected peripherals, so it’s important to ensure that only trusted devices can connect.

“Services like ‘AirDrop’ or ‘Fast Share’ should also be switched off when not in use and, when activated, should be configured so that only trusted contacts can send files.

“If you are concerned that your device may have been infected with malware in such a manner, you should use a reputable antivirus solution. These are available from the major app stores, often for free.”

Advice on how to avoid falling victim to cybercrime at