• Mohan Chathuranga

Did you get calls from Unknown International Numbers?

Are you getting missed calls from unknown international numbers like Burundi, Malawi, Nigeria, Tunisia, Russia, Belarus, Pakistan etc? Beware, it is one ring phone scam.

Lately, many of you and your colleagues have got missed calls from unknown numbers. It rings once and then the call gets disconnected. Sometimes, the call may also ring for the full duration. This is a scam. You should not pick such calls nor should you call back on these unknown numbers.

Why Am I Getting Calls From Countries Like Burundi, Malawi, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, Belarus etc.?

Well, first of all, it’s none of your fault! In all probability someone is trying to trick you and steal your money. If you get calls from phone numbers beginning with country codes of Burundi (+257), Malawi (+265), Pakistan (+92), Russia (+7), Nigeria (+234), Tunisia (+216), Belarus (+375) etc.; do not pick such calls if the number is unknown to you. These calls are part of a scam that has been in existence since early 2000s. The scam is said to be originated in Japan and it used to be called Wangiri. The word wangiriis Japanese means one ring and cut. And this is exactly what the scammers do.

How does the One Ring Scam Work?

The scammer will hire an international premium rate number (IPRN) from a local phone company. After this, the scammer will give you one ring and then disconnect the call. You will think that you missed an important call (that too a call from foreign country! it must be important! –that’s how a lot of people think). So, you will call back on the same number and your call will be taken. Usually, nobody will talk to you from the other side and you’ll keep on saying something like “hello, hello, hello, is anybody there?!“. Eventually, receiving no answer, you will get frustrated and hit the disconnect button on your mobile phone. However, by then you would have lost quite a bit of money.

Why was Money Deducted from My Phone Balance?

After the call, when you will check your prepaid phone balance, you will realize that you have lost a large sum of money for making an international call.

You might be wondering why do people make such one ring call scams? What benefit do they get out of it? Well, apparently, these scammers get their commission from the phone companies whose premium rate number they use to trick you. They may get up to $1 for every incoming call!

Hundreds of thousands of people get tricked everyday; so you can imagine the kind of easy money scammers are making. It is a nexus between individuals and some phone companies in Africa and countries of erstwhile USSR.

Can You Get Your Money Back?

Unfortunately not. You can not get the money back as it is already charged for the call that you made yourself. Technically, the scammers are not offenders in this case. They simply offer you a bait and you take it. You make the call in response to the missed call on your own will. So, the phone networks are legally allowed to collect the charges from you.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed by One Ring Scammers?

There are a few things that you can do to avoid getting trapped in such scams. Here are some suggestions for NapsterSecurity readers:

Do not pick any call that is coming from other countries where the phone number remains unrecognized.

Give special attention to calls coming from African and erstwhile USSR countries.

There is a list of more suspicious countries below. Don’t take calls from these countries if the number is not saved in your phone book.If you’re really expecting a call from these countries, it is better to first receive the phone number through WhatsApp or SMS or Email and save it in your phone book.

If you miss such a one ring scam call —do not call back.If you’re unsure about the origin of call, you should look up for the country code in Google.

The search will tell you the country of origin.Use mobile apps like TrueCaller to identify unknown numbers.

Do not pick an unidentified number unless TrueCaller gives you information.

Report all the suspicious calls to your phone operator.You can use various call blocking apps to block a particular number.

If the spammer is using different numbers, you can also block an entire country code.

List of Countries to Watch out for in the One Ring Scam

+221 – Senegal

+222 – Mauritania

+223 – Mali

+224 – Guinea

+225 – Côte d’Ivoire

+226 – Burkina Faso

+227 – Niger

+228 – Togo

+229 – Benin

+257 – Burundi

+265 – Malawi

+92   – Pakistan

+ 7   –  Russia

+234 – Nigeria

+216 – Tunisia

+375 – Belarus

+91 – India

+20 – Egypt

+235 – Chad

+381 – Serbia

+994 – Azerbaijan

+676 – Tonga

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