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18th Oct 2017

What happens if you ring back a number that’s part of a ‘Wangiri’ phone scam

It's the call you don't want to return.


Strange numbers from foreign countries have been ringing a lot of people in Ireland, here’s what happens if you ring back.

A ‘Wangiri’ scam also known as a one-ring scam has been doing the rounds in Ireland a good bit over the last month.

There have been two big cases of unknown numbers ringing people around the country. Today saw customers getting strange phone calls from Comoros and this follows on from a similar event in September when people received missed calls from the Seychelles, Tonga, Mauritania and Chad, so if you see these numbers, do not answer or call them back either.

Clip via 41 Action News

How do they work? Well, the scammers buy up a range of different numbers in the country and then use automated machines to randomly make quick missed calls to blocks of different numbers giving your phone just one ring which is long enough for it to leave a missed call.

However, the scam is only successful if you return the call.

If you call the number back, the spammers will charge your phone just like they would with a 1500 number here in Ireland which is like ringing a psychic hotline for example.

It will cost you an extortionate amount of money to even just connect the call and for every minute you stay on the line, you will also be charged a high rate.

Most of these scams keep you on the phone by talking unclearly, low or generally incoherently so that you keep having to ask them what was said or if they could repeat the sentence.

Advice on ‘Wangiri’ phone scam from the Irish Cellular Industry Association and is:

  • Do not call the number back: If it’s a legitimate call then the caller will likely ring back and more likely leave a voicemail.
  • If you think the number might be suspect, don’t answer and let it go to voicemail.
  • A quick Google of the number will likely tell you if it is part of any ongoing scam calls.

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