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How to avoid falling prey to ‘Wangiri’ mobile phone scammers

Following a warning from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) of the return of the ‘Wangiri’ phone scam in the country, there is a need for you to know how you can protect yourself from such scammers.

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).

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.

Therefore as that international phone call lands on your phone, there are several things you can do to avoid falling prey for such scams. Here are a few tips:

1. Dont share your phone number online – As much as love connecting with people online, for your own safety, avoid sharing your contact with people you don’t trust online. This is because sharing your contact online could easily land you into the hands scammers. Be safe as you browse online.

2. Don’t return unknown calls – How many times are you tempted to return that unknown number that called you? Well, now you know. You have to be very careful. If you’re not sure about who is calling you, just ignore. If they want to pass information to you, let them call back.

3. Report suspicious numbers to your network provider – Be sure to share suspicious contacts to your network provider such as Safaricom or Airtel. This will help them identify and block fraudulent numbers and save other mobile users from being tricked by these scammers.

4. Download a caller identification app – If you’re suspicious of a number, you can check its legitimacy using a mobile app. There are several apps that display caller information and help you block spam numbers. You can use Apps like Truecaller. Most of these apps have active community platforms where users continuously report spam numbers. They help others around the world stay safe from fraud and spam calls.

5. Use an interactive Voice Response (IVR) System – Many cellular companies use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems to route and automate inbound and outbound calls. Network operators can leverage the IVR system to inform users when they call back premium international numbers upon receiving a missed call. It can be used as an effective tool by operators to identify potential ‘Wangiri’ scammers.

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