The phone scammers are on the loose big time at the moment. Have you been caught out?

Stop and think twice before picking up that phone.

Especially if it’s an unknown number with an unusual country code, you probably shouldn’t answer and definitely don’t call back a missed number.

Such calls are something known as a “wangiri scam” after a Japanese word which loosely translates to “one ring and cut”.

The phone calls essentially prank your phone in the hopes you will call back at which point you might be unwittingly racking up a hefty bill.

This type of scam has become increasingly common with calls originating from places like Cuba, Africa and Latvia targeting mobile customers in Australia in recent months.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s deputy chair, Delia Rickard, spoke to ABC and recommended ignoring calls from country codes you don’t recognise.

“What typically happens is the scammer calls for just one ring then cuts the line leaving a missed call on the victim’s phone,” she said.

“Then the victim calls the number back and they could be put on hold, have music playing or they could try and chat.”

The objective is to keep you on the phone for as long as possible.

The scammers often call on premium lines similar to those used by psychic hotlines or sex lines that can end up costing you a small fortune.

Ms Rickard said with scams like these, the perpetrators can find a way to get some of the money charged for calling the premium line — and it’s very difficult for telcos to prevent.

Have you been caught?

Share your comments below

  • People calling via skype can actually do so using the prefix of another country. I have received some via that method.


  • It’s an add, it’s humorous, these complainers definitely need to get a life.


  • I just don’t answer the overseas numbers.


  • I figure if it’s a real person, they’ll either call back or leave a message on my voice mail. Or text me.


  • I “miss” a lot of calls, only pick up when I recognise the number. I’ve no voice mail, as I’ve no time to go through voice messages and call people back. When it’s important they can call me back or send a text.


  • Nope stop answering phone calls with numbers that arent local. Usually if they call again they I Google the number to see what others have said or where it is originates from. Negative I block the number.
    After awhile I have come to recognise numbers that are scams.


  • If I’ve got a missed call from someone unknown I’ll look it up on reverse number look up first and see if anyone else has complained


  • If I don’t recognize the number and the call is not local, I just don’t answer. These scammers are getting really clever!


  • Awful because it’s usually vulnerable people who can least afford it that end up falling victim. I run by the rule that if you need to speak to me and I don’t have your number you can leave me a message.


  • Yes, Phone scamming has been coming through thick and fast in recent months. I have voicemail, so if you do not leave a message then do not expect me to phone you back. If your number appears more than twice, with no message left, I block it. If it is a private number and you do not leave a message then just keep on trying, because I refuse to answer a private number. It is your time and your phone call being wasted, not mine.


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