Think twice about returning that phone call from an unknown number!
(This article has been updated on Feb. 21, 2023 to include more information from AT&T and How-To Geek)
MANILA, Philippines – Globe telecom advises the public anew to be wary of returning missed calls from unknown numbers as these might be part of the “one-ring and cut-call” scam that tricks people into calling back and unknowingly incur international call charges.
While it may be tempting to press “return call” to figure out their reason for calling as soon as possible, here are some things to keep in mind before responding to these anonymous calls, according to the telco provider:
- Were you expecting a call for work or a personal engagement?
- If not, the caller will likely reach out for a follow-up via text to confirm who they are and make their agenda known. They also would not have a problem revealing their identity should you be the one to send a text to inquire as to why they were calling, especially if they are using a local number.
- Is the number calling from a local service provider?
- If not, keep in mind that international calls will incur charges to your bill. Globe states that there is no reason for you to engage with an unknown international number if you don’t have a scheduled or expected international call from a legitimate contact. The telco provider also noted that using free, end-to-end encrypted social messaging apps to get in touch with someone abroad would be the better option.
Among other efforts of the company to protect its subscribers from scams are the proactive daily monitoring of suspicious callers, blocking of fraudulent numbers, and releasing awareness campaigns to inform the public.
American multinational telecommunications holding company AT&T explains how this long-running scam works, which has already been preying on unsuspecting telco users in earlier years.
AT&T said the caller hopes you do call the international number back. When you do, they try to keep you on the line for as long as possible.
Some of the scammers’ ways of keeping you on the line are playing recorded messages that may say: “Hello…hello?…I’m having trouble hearing you. Hello?…Will you please call back?” or “You’ve received a song from someone who loves you. After listening to this song you will find out who sent this song as a gift.”
Every time you call, you will be charged high international rates or other connection fees, which get higher the longer you stay on the call.
These scams are also known as “Wangiri”, which comes from Japan where the scam originated years ago and means one-ring-and-cut. (One ring and done.), according to AT&T.
According to a 2019 article by How-to Geek, Wangiri is an international scam, with victims distributed across the world. Some victims have reported being told they’ve won a prize—usually money—and are encouraged to wait on the line to claim it. Others merely test the victim’s patience by subjecting them to hold music without any other incentives.
Keep these information in mind the next time an unknown international number flashes across your phone screen.