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