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BizTrends 2018


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Beware of returning that missed call!

NEWSWATCH: There's a new mobile scam doing the rounds – and it's affecting freelancers and those who do international business.
Allan Swart © –

Called the Wangiri scam (in Japanese, wan means “one” and giri means “cut” or “hang up” depending on the source), it entails your phone ringing just once from an international number, usually in the middle of the night, so you don’t notice it and wake up to a missed call.

The missed call itself isn’t the problem, it’s what you do with it that is: When you call back, you either trigger an avalanche of spam being sent to you, or you get put on hold or put through to a premium number that charges exorbitant rates, so your airtime is instantly chewed up.

The coldest cold call

It’s like the worst kind of marketing cold call – but you’re not even wasting your time talking about details you’re not interested in. You’re charged for being a decent human being who is concerned that you’ve missed some important information.

Apparently it arises from a computer dialling a large number of mobile phone numbers at random. While it’s making the rounds at the moment, MyBroadband reports that SA was hit with a round of WhatsApp Wangiri calls back in 2015, where you’d receive a contact attachment with a text asking that you ‘call me back’.

The big networks like MTN advise that you rather be cautious in this regard – if it’s an overseas number you don’t know and they really want to speak to you, they’ll leave a message or call back.

Here’s a list of international numbers that were identified as Wangiri scam originators back in 2016. Let us know if you’ve been affected by the scam in the comments section below…

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at and one of our Lifestyle contributors. She is passionate about issues of inclusion, equality and diversity, the only SA finalist shortlisted for the Women in Marketing #WIMawards2017, and can be reached at ...
gift jamba
Ii thought that it was just an isolated event towards a small number of people. It happened to me 4 times already until i ignored the missed calls.
Posted on 14 Mar 2017 12:57