Local mobile service providers have warned Kenyans against falling prey to an international call scam, where mobile phone users are fleeced of their money by fraudsters.
The warning comes following increased complaints by Kenyans, who have received the calls. In the scam, mobile users usually receive missed calls from unknown international numbers, most of them bearing prefixes +41 (Switzerland), +963 (Syria), +252 (Somalia), and +37 (Latvia).
Once a users returns the international calls, they are redirected to premium numbers that drain lines of credit, unknowingly. The longer one spends on the call, the more cash the fraudsters make.
The scam has been baptised “wangiri” because the phone rings only once and has been witnessed in other parts of the world, including in Europe and the United States (US).
"The Wangiri Fraud sees 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," a report titled Wangiri fraud done in Ireland says.
“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,” it further states.
Telecommunications firms, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya have warned their customers against calling back in case they receive missed calls from international numbers bearing the above codes.
“We have advised our customers to ignore these calls and to avoid returning any missed calls from unknown international numbers,” said Telkom Kenya.
Safaricom has asked customers to report the international calls by forwarding the numbers to 333, a short-code where customers report incidents of fraud.