Don’t respond to this missed call
THERE has been an increase in Aussies being targeted by a missed phone call scam that results in victims losing money the moment they ring back.
This type of con is known as a Wangiri scam, a Japanese term that roughly translates to "one and cut".
In this scam the scammer will call you, let the phone ring once and then hang up without leaving a message. The victim then sees that they have a missed call from an international number.
The scam relies on the victim calling the number back. The moment this happens they are bleeding money without even realising it as the call is charged at a premium rate.
At this point, the scammer's objective is to keep the caller on the phone for as long as possible to get the most money out of them.
To keep victims on the phone the scammer may put you on hold, play music, read a horoscope or just try and chat.
Last week Scamwatch received 19 reports of ‘Wangiri’ scams – missed calls from international numbers that charge a premium rate if you ring the number back. In this latest version the scammer sometimes says “Hello” before hanging up. Just don’t call back! pic.twitter.com/lbKrULmMNj— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) September 30, 2019
NSW Police sent out a warning following a recent spate of Aussies being targeted by this missed call scam.
"Had a call from an unfamiliar international number? Don't answer or ring back - it could be a scam that'll cost you a small fortune," they warned on Facebook.
In the latest version of this scam, the caller may also just say "hello" before hanging up.
Last week alone Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, received 19 reports of Wangiri scams.
"If you receive an unexpected missed call from an international number you don't recognise, ignore it," Scamwatch says.
"If you are receiving repeated missed calls, block the number."
Aussies are also advised to block international calls on mobile phones that may be used by children so that they can't accidentally call back an international number.
Hundreds of social media users commented on the NSW Police post warning about the scam, with many saying they have received similar suspicious calls in the last few days.
"I've had plenty in the past. Most recent only a couple of days ago from Tunisia. I always ignore the call & then block the number," one person said.
"Guess the explains the three calls from Tunisia I've received the last few days that only rang for 3 seconds," another wrote.
If you have been caught out by this scam, there are a couple of things you can do to try and get your money back.
"If you've returned one of these calls and receive a large bill, contact your telecommunications provider to discuss your options," the Scamwatch website says.
"If you're dissatisfied after dealing with your service provider, you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman."