ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NO 136 UNDERSTANDING THE RISK OF WANGIRI SCAM
The following information was obtained from different cyber security sources for notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG).
The information provided was classified as “Restricted” pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on Document Security and Impact Rating as high based on PNP Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security Manual s.2010-01 p. 22 and p.129.
Have you ever received a phone call from an overseas number which lasted only one ring? The wangiri scam is also known as the “one ring and cut” scam, wan means “one” and giri means “hang up”. If you return the call, you will hear an advertisement for a subscription to premium chat lines or Internet services and you will be charged a premium for this call.
A growing telephone scam could be catching out unsuspecting targets or victims leaving them with hefty bills. It works by a fraudster calling a victim's mobile phone number and hanging up after one or two rings.
What happens if the target or victim/s returned that missed call? Disappointingly, the answer is not a lot, although the victim will waste a whole lot of cash. Once they do return the missed call they will be re-routed to premium rate number overseas and will be subsequently billed exorbitant sums for the privilege of listening to pre-recorded messages.
The scam artists use phone numbers bought on the dark web where criminals trade in illegal goods and services to dial phone users in other countries and then immediately disconnect the calls to them.
The aim of the scam is to encourage those who see a missed call on their phone to ring the number, after which they will be ripped off. Victims are often placed on hold or played a long pre-recorded message such as music playing or the person will have language problems or they'll chat to you just to keep you on the phone as long as possible and rack up higher bills.
Some have even reported being billed for calls that are several hours long, although they had hung up much sooner than this. It is pretty hard to understand how these overseas companies make money but, to simplify it, they pretend to be a mobile network so your provider sends money onto them from the call you make.
The scam targets people through texts and quizzes as well. In the meantime, the best protections for the public if you get or received a phone call from a foreign country and you are not expecting it just do not call back.
The public are advised to follow these tips to avoid being a victim of Wangiri scam, to wit:
- Do not respond to numbers supplied in an automated call or from numbers you do not recognize;
- Do not return calls to international numbers unless you know them;
- Do not pay with an iTunes gift card;
- Delete any messages left on your voicemail;
- Alert your mobile operator to any suspicious looking overseas numbers you miss calls from. This will allow them to build a database of numbers to help stop other customers potentially falling victim; and
- Use an app such as Truecaller that filters out unwanted calls and text messages.
For additional information, please refer to the following websites: