Another cyber scam that resurfaces after a period of inactivity. The ‘wangiri’ or ‘missed call scam’ is here again to harass—and, in some cases, steal—users. Since more than a yearthe Civil Guard has been warning about this dangerous type of fraud, to remind the population of the importance of being alert to any missed calls that come from unknown numbers or with unusual prefixes.
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What is Wangiri and how does it work?
‘Wangiri’ is a Japanese term meaning “call and cut”and refers to a type of telephone scam that involves charging special rates to victims who return missed calls from international numbers.
Scammers use an automated system that generates thousands of calls per minute and cuts them off after they ring once or twice, with the aim that their victims cannot answer, and thus induce them to call back.
When the victim does so, they fall into the trap: charging is started, and fraudsters make profits at the user’s expense. The Civil Guard has identified several international prefixes used in this scam, among which the following stand out:
- 355 (Albania).
- 225 (Ivory Coast)
- 233 (Ghana)
- 2. 3. 4 (Nigeria)
However, authorities warn that there are other prefixes and numbers that scammers use to carry out their scam, so it is recommended to be wary of any missed call that comes from an unknown location or has an unusual prefix.
If you call back, they charge you a special rate, of which the scammer always takes a part
How to protect yourself from Wangiri
To avoid falling into the Wangiri trap, some security measures are suggested:
- Do not return calls to unknown numbersespecially if they are of foreign origin.
- Contact your telephone company to block unauthorized international calls and set spending limits.
- Carefully review the invoice of the phone to detect any unusual charges and, if any are found, report it to the company and conduct an investigation.
If you have already fallen victim to this scam and you have realized it after reviewing the invoice, you can report it before the State Security Forces and Bodies presenting all the evidence, and then make a claim at the bank submitting a copy of the complaint to request a possible refund of the money.
Furthermore, it is recommended resort to a search engine to verify that the unknown numbers whose call we intend to answer are not already classified as spam numbers.
Remember that not all numbers of this type resort to a Wangiri-type scam scheme: many want you to pick up and pretend to be banks or telephone or electricity companies in order to attract clients for third parties, or to convince us to provide them with our personal data.
For others, also very fashionable these days, it is enough for you to pick up and you answer ‘Yes?’; In many cases they will cut the call themselves after that.
Image | Marcos Merino through AI