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Beware of ‘Wangiri’ mobile phone scam!

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has warned Kenyans of the return of the ‘Wangiri’ phone scam.

The ‘Wangiri’ fraud is a cellphone call scam where fraudsters try to extract money from potential victims by calling using an unknown international numbers.

The scammers makes many short-duration calls to trick the user into calling back to a premium-rated number (PRN).

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A press statement, the authority’s Director General, Ezra Chiloba, said the scam is designed to lure innocent and unsuspecting mobile phone users to return the ‘urgent’ international calls upon which they are unknowingly redirected to premium numbers that drain their credit.

“The authority is advising the public to beware, do not call back any international number that you don’t recognize. If you happen to already be a victim, report the number to your service provider so that they can block the numbers. This stops other users from becoming victims,” Mr Chiloba said.

According to Mr Chiloba, in Kenya, many of the ‘Wangari’ calls have been reported to be emanating from telephone numbers with the codes +51 (Peru) and +64 (New Zealand).

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The callback fraud originated in Japan and got its name from the Japanese term “Wangiri”, which translates to “One ring and cut” (wan means “one”
and giri means “hang up” in Japanese.)

It’s one of the most common phone frauds affecting millions of users around the world.

During the callback, the scammers try to keep victims busy on the line for as long as possible. The calls are either directed to a real person or an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to extract as much money as possible.

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