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Communications Authority of Kenya raises alarm over the return of the Wangiri phone scam

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has raised the alarm over the return of the Wangiri phone came.

The industry regulator says that, through the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre, it has received confirmed reports of the return of the Wangiri phone scam that has previously been a nuisance to Kenyans.

The Wangiri phone scam occurs when scammers call your mobile phone, which rings once, and hang up before you can answer it.

The scam is designed to lure innocent and unsuspecting mobile phone users to returning the “urgent” international calls upon which they are unknowingly redirected to premium numbers that drain their credit.

During the calls, users are made to listen to a recorded message so as to keep the caller connected. The longer the caller stays connected, the more money the scammers make. In such a case, post-paid subscribers are likely to be unaware because they receive their bills at the end of the month. The pre-paid subscribers can only lose as much as their loaded credit.

In Kenya, many of the calls have been reported to be emanating from telephone numbers with the following codes: +51 (Peru), +64 (New Zealand), among others. These telephone numbers are illegally purchased by these scammers from the dark web, a hidden part of the Internet, known for the buying and selling of illegal goods and services.

This type of scam originated in Japan and is popularly known as the “one ring and cut” scam. Wan means “one” and giri means “hang up” in Japanese.

CA is advising Kenyans to take several measures to stop themselves from being scammed. The measures include:

  • Not calling back any international phone number they one doesn’t recognize.
  • If they have already called back such a number, all is not lost. They can report the number to their mobile network operator so that it can be blocked and stopped from scamming others.


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