Scamwatch Issues Warning To Australians Over ‘Wangiri’ Phone Scam

Updated On Oct 4, 2019 by Kate Leaman

Earlier year we reported on a scam which involved fraudsters stealing a person’s mobile number, and getting the provider to send a new sim which they use to defraud the customer.

Now a new type of phone scam which is targeting Australians. Known as the ‘Wangiri’ scam or a missed call scam, victims lose money the moment that they call back the unknown number.

The increase in the number of Wangiri scams has forced Australia’s Scamwatch to sound the alarm on the perils of answering missed calls. They recommend that people don’t call back if they find any missed phone calls from an unknown number on their phones.

The scam works by con artist calling up the victim from an international number. They will usually let the phone ring once and then hang up on them. The entire scam depends on the victim calling back.

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When they call back, they will start losing money as they are charged at a premium rate. To get the victim to keep losing money, the caller will try to keep the victim on the phone as much as possible.

International calls cost a lot and you don’t want them being charged to your account. Australians who have been victimized by this scam can take a few steps to address this scam. When Aussies receive an insanely high charge to their phone bill, they need to get in touch with their telecommunications provider and check at the potential options available to them. If the victims are not satisfied with their results, they can contact their Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Why It Happens

Many might be wondering how phone scammers profit from this unusual scam. According to the authorities, most of these numbers work like a 1900 number or a premium service. This means that most of the phone call charges will be passed on to the scammer. Every minute is a premium charge and even a 15 minute call can provide scammers with a hefty profit.

Mobile premium service scams are a popular scam around the world but Australians have been targeted a lot in recent months. The authorities say that Australians have lost $138,275 to these scammers in the last 9 months. The usual source of these calls are from countries like Tunisia, Guinea, Slovenia and other obscure locations.

To better protect themselves, Australians are recommended to block calls from unknown international numbers, especially if they keep on calling. Children who have mobiles can also be victims to this scam, so international calls should be blocked on their phones.

The authorities also point out that any unsolicited attempt to contact a person for a potential business opportunity is usually a scam. Australians are urged to keep their family and friends informed of the Wangiri scam.

Kate Leaman Author

Kate is our resident cryptocurrency expert, she will be guiding you through the rise of new digital coins as well as providing insights of what's to come and what to avoid going forward..

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