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Vodafone UK Blocking Wangiri International Missed Call Fraud

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 (8:42 am) - Score 3,469
vodafone mobile security uk agent

Mobile operator Vodafone has announced that “where possible” they are now trying to block international Wangiri scam calls before they even reach users. On top of that they’re also pledging to “reimburse any victim who has incurred a charge” as a result of calling such a number.

The Wangiri (Japanese for “one ring and cut“) scam is both deceptively simple and sadly very effective. Essentially the fraudster calls a mobile number at random but only gives one or two rings before ending the attempt, which is designed to prompt the receiver (i.e. you) into calling the number back in order to check who was calling. But if you call back then you do so on a premium international number (profits for the fraudster).

Vodafone are now actively blocking any numbers known to be associated with Wangiri, although since the numbers are always changing then it’s likely that some end-users will still end up getting hit (hence the pledge to reimburse those affected).

Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK Chief Executive, said:

“The message we’re sending to criminal gangs behind the Wangiri scam is don’t call our customers. We are determined to do what we can to stamp out fraudulent practices, whether it is false PPI calls or bogus accident claim calls coming from the UK or international phone rackets. We will also continue to share our intelligence with other mobile companies so we can act as one.”

The operator added that if customers do receive any unwanted calls they should report them to the operator by simply texting CALL to 7726 free of charge from their Vodafone phone. “We’ll reply by text to ask you for the phone number you’re receiving the nuisance calls from,” said Vodafone.

Rival operator Three UK recently put out a similar warning about the Wangiri scam (here).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. wireless pacman

    Am at a bit of a loss here as to why someone would call back when (a) they don’t know the caller, (b) the unknown caller did not leave a message, and (c) it is an international number that called them. Or am I missing something here?

    • Probably for the same reason that 0.2% of people will respond to spam emails, although calling back a missed number is something that might be more likely to occur by accident too (i.e. if you’re dealing with a lot of calls or in a business then you could easily end up doing it automatically, without thinking).

    • wirelesspacman

      Fair comment 🙂

  2. Stephen Wakeman

    I don’t understand how telephone scams work anymore. In a day and age where everything has a digital fingerprint. Where Google knows everywhere I’ve been. Where supposedly bots are listening for key words in phone conversations that can be tracked across the globe. To have a bank account you need multiple forms of ID.

    How, in this world, do these scammers set up accounts to obtain the proceeds of these swindles in a way that leaves them untracked? If I phone that number the call charge us collected from my account and then transferred to the account of the line operator right? So how can that account be registered but not tracked?

    It makes no sense in a post GDPR world that I can’t fart without it being logged by a data miner, yet this crap seems to happen all over the place and they get away with it.

    • MrWhite

      So, GDPR being an EU regulation still leaves plenty of countries with less rigorous regulations. In this case a legitimate company can be set up to sell “widgets”. Creates a premium number, which you can call to buy widgets and will be charged for that call. All it takes is for someone in the organisation to dial out and call a bunch of people (couple of rings) and for some of those people to call back and get an answerphone to be charged. “free” money.

  3. Simon

    My landline only had a number for the sake of needing it – no calls, no dialtone – no problem!

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