Warnings About Sharing Your Vacations on Social Media
Nancy Patterson - August 30, 2019
You’re out at romantic dinner, or fast asleep in the middle of the night, we’ve all had a mysterious call that rang only once from a unrecognized number. Couldn’t have been a bill, it’s outside the legal times they are allowed to call. You think: “Maybe it was someone I know in trouble.” Well you really need to curb your desire to call that number back. You can otherwise be subject to the one ring scam also known as the Wangiri Fraud.
Alright, what is this “Wangiri” thing?
The idea behind the Wangiri scam, is to bait you into calling the number back. Wangiri translates to “one ring and cut” in Japanese. The idea is they want you to wonder who just called your phone and dial the number back.
The scam has been around for ages, however recently authorities say that they have seen a rise in cases. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned in a press release on May 3, 2019, entitled: “SCAMMERS LOOKING TO DEFRAUD CONSUMERS BY PROMPTING EXPENSIVE CALL BACK” that there has been waves of ‘one-ring’ or ‘Wangiri’ robocall scams targeting specific area codes in bursts. Often times people will experience multiple calls in a single evening.
Effected consumers will experience calls such as ones from area code 222. Which absolutely resembles a US area code, however this particular code is the Country Code for Mauritania in West Africa. Some have even experienced numbers from the US that the scammers use through phone number spoofing techniques that mask their true identity.
This Is How You Get Burned
You might be thinking… ‘okay… so what? They call my phone, ring once and then hang up… where’s the scam?” You wouldn’t be wrong to feel this way. You would be correct, at that point it is a no-harm no-foul situation. But remember the goal is to get you to the point where you are so curious that you just HAVE to know who keeps dialing your phone. Once you make that call, you are charged an astronomical rate per minute you are on the call.
It works kind of like 1-900 numbers or premium service lines. When you make the call, the scammers will do whatever it takes to keep you on the line.
For Example: In one instance, you are told a friend of yours has sent you a song, and they will reveal who sent it to you once the song is over. They will then precede to play the song for, what goes on forever, before you finally just get fed up and hang up. But at that rate, maybe 5-10 minutes have gone by. Other scams involve getting instructions for a deliver pick up, or notifications of a sick relative. It is all just a ploy to keep you on the phone for as long as possible to rack up those charges.
When we return unknown calls we do it because we are curious who was calling us, and to let whomever called know they must have misdialed if it is a wrong number. So in most cases a completely innocent and lovely gesture. In those cases, we are sure we are dialing someone’s private line in the country. In other words, we for the most part think we are dialing back a free call. So imagine the surprise on your phone bill when you find out you were being charged a per-minute rate on that 15-minute confusing phone call you had one evening last month!
You Won’t Be A Victim
There are a few things to remember in order to not become a victim of the Wangiri scam:
NEVER CALL BACK
Look you want to be nice and you may be overly curious, but let’s face it, the best way to protect yourself is to just ignore that nonsense.
If you can block those numbers that are hitting your phone constantly with a single ring. Don’t put up with it!
The FCC wants to know about these numbers. Help fight the good fight by reporting all single ring numbers on their website! Also report them to your phone company so they can do their part in making sure these numbers don’t make it to their customer’s phones.
REVERSE PHONE LOOKUP
Get proactive in your defense. Look up all suspicious numbers using a reverse phone lookup service like the one from CheckPeople. Identify where the calls are coming from. You could find such information as a name an address, email and other personal details of whomever owns that line.
These scams prey on your base need to know. Curiosity killed the cat, and there is a reason!
If someone was in an emergency they wouldn’t keep hanging up. If you don’t know who is calling, just don’t call it back. Important calls will stay on the line or at least leave a message.
It’s very easy to miss these charges as in some cases it’s a few bucks. But over time and via a vast pool of potential victims, this is very lucrative for the scammers.
Stay safe and call only those you know and you’ll be safe from the Wangiri Scam!