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”Wangiri” Missed Call Scam: NCC Warns Nigerian Phone Users

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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The Nigerian Communication Commission ((NCC)has in recent news  placed a strict warning across mobile users concerning a Scam Call named Wangiri.

It’s not old news that scammers often called ‘yahoo boys’ lurk behind the rings of a phone just to cheat innocent people. They set traps with promises of money or an official business, and they make calls from both Nigeria and abroad to deceive people.

In this piece, we’ll be reviewing this scam—Wangiri—and how we can equip ourselves with the right knowledge to outsmart these fraudsters.

What Is Wangiri ?

Wangiri is  a Japanese term meaning “one ring and cut” which  has become closely associated with a prevalent mobile fraud. 

In this scheme, fraudsters initiate a single ring to a target’s mobile phone, causing them to return the missed call. Once the recipient returns the call,it is quickly redirected to an international premium rate number, resulting in exorbitant charges for the unsuspecting victim.

This trick is used to deceive people by exploiting their curiosity thus taking advantage of their confusion as an avenue to scam them.

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How Do These Fraudsters Operate?

According to details provided by the NCC, this deceptive scheme unfolds when scammers initiate a single ring to a mobile phone, urging the recipient to redial the missed call. 

If the individual chooses to return the call, they may unknowingly connect to a high-cost number, potentially an international one, leading to premium rate charges. This action could result in the person incurring a significant expense for the call.

Calls linked to this fraudulent activity primarily originate from smaller or developing nations, adding a layer of complexity to the scheme.

 These Fraudsters make calls from countries like Botswana, Guinea, and Guyana, and these calls often come with promises of money or official business. Blocking these calls is challenging because the numbers change with each missed call, making the situation even more confusing.

This scam tends to persist for specific phone users over a span of a few days, taking advantage of curiosity and capitalising on the brief confusion caused by the missed calls.

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How To Stay Safe From Wangiri Scam.

In an advisory to its users, MTN Nigeria, the country’s major telecommunications provider, has outlined essential guidelines to safeguard against phone scams. 

These instructions are important for users to avoid falling prey to fraudulent activities.

Firstly, a crucial recommendation is to limit callbacks exclusively to known numbers. It is strongly advised not to return calls from international numbers that are unfamiliar, as this practice can often be a gateway to scams.

Also, the notice emphasises that genuine calls tend to repeat. If someone legitimately needs to reach you, they typically make repeated attempts or leave a voicemail. Having an understanding of this pattern can help you tell the difference between real calls and possible scams.

 Users are also urged to stay alert to suspicious prefixes associated with scams. Specific international prefixes, such as +175 (Saint Lucia), +269 (Comoros), +682 (Cook Islands), and others, are commonly used in these fraudulent schemes. 

Being familiar with these prefixes becomes an essential tool in identifying and avoiding potential scams.

  As telecommunications authorities intensify security measures, user awareness remains a crucial defence against evolving scams. Staying vigilant is key to protecting oneself from the pervasive Wangiri mobile fraud menace.

 The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has also issued a warning, urging citizens to exercise extra caution when charging their phones in public places. The warning is because fraudsters can easily hack into devices. It’s important to stay alert and use safe charging practices to reduce the risks of these scams.

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FAQS

How does the “Wangiri” scam work?

Scammers use auto-dialing technology to make brief calls, often ringing just once or twice. The intention is to entice recipients into returning the call, unaware that they are connecting to a premium rate or international number, leading to inflated charges.

What should I do if I receive a missed call from an unknown number?

Do not call back any missed calls from unfamiliar numbers, especially if they are international or premium rate. If the call is legitimate, the person will likely leave a voicemail or try reaching out through other means.

How can I protect myself from falling victim to the “Wangiri” scam?

Avoid returning calls to unknown numbers, particularly those with international prefixes. Monitor your phone bill regularly for any suspicious or unexpected charges. Consider using call blocking apps or services to filter out potential scam calls

Conclusion

The rise of the “Wangiri” missed call scam underscores the importance of vigilance and awareness among Nigerian phone users. The warning issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) serves as a crucial reminder for individuals to exercise caution and not to return calls to unfamiliar numbers. As technology evolves, so do the tactics of scammers, making it imperative for users to stay informed and adopt proactive measures to safeguard themselves from potential financial and privacy risks.

 References

  • consumer.ncc.gov.ng– Wangiri Mobile Fraud: Beware of the Missed Call Scam
  • legit.ng– Users to Beware of “Wangiri” Missed Call Scam

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Blessing Ukibe
Blessing Ukibe

Medical Student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University|Tech content expert at Silicon Africa Technology|Lover of fun books and fun fun ☺️

Articles: 90

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