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Press statement issued by CA

Beware of a Resurgent ‘Wangiri’ Scam, Warns CA

The Authority has called on the public to be on a high alert with the resurgence of the ‘Wangiri’ mobile phone scam in the country.

On Friday, the CA issued a statement indicating there have been a surge in reports of the return of this scam, in which victims are duped into calling back strange international calls, and rerouted to premium numbers which drain their airtime.

‘‘The scam is designed to lure innocent and unsuspecting mobile phone users to returning the “urgent” international calls upon which they are unknowingly redirected to premium numbers that drain their credit,’’ the statement reads in part.

Once they have been connected to the premium numbers, the victims are made to listen to a recorded message so as to keep the caller connected. The longer the caller stays connected, the more money the scammers make. The CA says post-paid subscribers are likely to be unaware because they receive their bills at the end of the month while pre-paid subscribers can only lose as much as their loaded credit.

A majority of the Wangiri scam calls In Kenya have been flagged from codes: +51 (Peru), +64 (New Zealand), among others. ‘‘These telephone numbers are illegally purchased by these scammers from the Dark Web, which is a hidden part of the Internet, known for buying and selling illegal goods and services,’’ the Authority said.

Members of the public have been urged to take precautions whenever they receive such suspicious foreign calls. To stay safe, they should not call back any international number that they don’t recognize.

Subscribers can also report such numbers to their service providers who can block them and prevent further harm to other unsuspecting consumers.

Known popularly as the “one ring and cut” scam, the Wangiri phone scam occurs when scammers call your mobile phone, which rings once, and hang up before you can answer it.

It is believed to have originated from Japan. Wan means “one” and giri means “hang up” in Japanese.