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Here is why you may have been receiving strange calls

By Amina Wako February 14th, 2020 2 min read

Have you been receiving unexpected calls from outside Kenya? The past week I’ve been getting missed calls from Guyana at ungodly hours of the night.

Seems I’ve not alone. Going through social media pages many people have received similar calls from Congo and Belgium.

One such person is songwriter Suzanna Owiyo who expressed her concerns on social media.

“Why am I getting these calls from DRC! Shindwe! First one at 4:42 am,” Suzanna tweeted.

And then there were many more others:

According to George Njoroge a forensic expert and the CEO of East African Data Handlers, almost 1 million Kenyans were contacted using the Congo number.

I decided to dig deeper and it turns out these calls are a part of a massive, international scam called “Wangiri”.

Wangiri is a Japanese word meaning ‘one (ring) and cut’

According to the European Cybercrime center ‘Wangiri’ is a telephone scam where criminals trick you into calling premium-rate numbers.

The calls mainly originate from countries such as Burundi (+257), Malawi (+265), Pakistan (+92), Russia (+7), Nigeria (+234), Tunisia (+216), Belarus (+375) and DRC (+243). This calls often ring for less than three seconds before disconnecting.

How it works:

A person finds a missed call on their phone. If the person calls the number back, they will be re-routed to a premium rate number overseas and will be subsequently charged for the expensive call.

How to identify ‘Wangiri’ call:

The call takes place at night or during working hours (reducing the chances for the recipient to answer the call). The call will display an unusual international country code. Finally, the call will ring once

What Can You Do?

If you have a missed call from an unknown number, don’t call back. If you receive several such calls, let your phone operator know.

The Europol advises the victim to contact the police.