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Wangiri Fraud: How the ‘One Ring’ International Calls Scam Work

Every so often, your phone may ring once and then stop. If that happens to you, and you do not recognize the number, do not return the call. You may be the target of a “one-ring” phone scam.

You’ve heard of the myths, how answering that unknown number with a weird prefix will recruit you into the ‘Illuminati’, or how everyone who picks dies? but what is the truth? It is likely most of us here get the quick missed calls from these numbers from all over the world, this is called the WANGIRI FRAUD.

What is Wangiri fraud?

The DCI has today explained what and how the fraud works, The term Wangiri is Japanese for “one (ring) and cut.” And as the name would imply, it’s a genuinely international scam, with victims distributed across the world. Warnings about the scam have appeared in Kenyan, the U.K., Canadian, Irish, and New Zealand media, among others.

The scam relies on innate curiosity, it entails receiving missed calls from international numbers you don’t recognize on a mobile/fixed-line phone. The fraudsters generating the calls hope that those who get a missed call ring the number, after which they get ripped off as the call is re-routed to a premium rate number overseas and will be subsequently billed exorbitant sums for listening to pre-recorded messages.

This means if you call back, you risk being connected to a phone number outside the Country and as a result, you may wind up being charged a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees.

How to avoid this scam

  • Don’t answer or return any calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
  • Before calling unfamiliar numbers, check to see if the area code is international.
  • If you do not make international calls, ask your phone company to block outgoing international calls on your line.
  • Always be cautious, even if a number appears authentic.


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