Lately, many have reported that they get missed calls from unknown numbers. It rings once and then the call gets disconnected. Sometimes, the call may also ring for the full duration. When the phone number is traced, people usually find that the call originated from countries like Burundi, Malawi, Pakistan, Belarus and Russia. Mostly you get such calls from African countries. And people wonder why they are getting such calls from unknown numbers in foreign countries. Let me tell you straightaway that it is a scam. You should not pick such calls nor should you call back on these unknown numbers. Now, let’s understand this issue in a bit more depth.
If you get calls from phone numbers beginning with country codes of Burundi (+257), Malawi (+265), Pakistan (+92), Russia (+7), Nigeria (+234), Tunisia (+216), Belarus (+375) etc.; do not pick such calls if the number is unknown to you. These calls are part of a scam that has been in existence since early 2000s.
How does the One Ring Scam Work?
The scammer will hire an international premium rate number (IPRN) from a local phone company. After this, the scammer will give you one ring and then disconnect the call. You will think that you missed an important call (that too a call from foreign country! it must be important! –that’s how a lot of people think). So, you will call back on the same number and your call will be taken. Usually, nobody will talk to you from the other side and you’ll keep on saying something like “hello, hello, hello, is anybody there?!“. Eventually, receiving no answer, you will get frustrated and hit the disconnect button on your mobile phone. However, by then you would have lost quite a bit of money.
Sometimes, these scam number will redirect your call to other very expensive numbers which offer adult content. The longer you stay on call, the higher you’ll be charged. To keep you on call for longer period, please-hold-the-line music could also be played until you get frustrated and cut the call yourself.
In addition to the missed calls, you may also receive SMS/WhatsApp/Email that would ask you to “please urgently call back” on a given (fraud) number. You call and you lose money!
Why was Money Deducted from My Phone Balance?
After the call, when you will check your prepaid phone balance, you will realize that you have lost a large sum of money for making an international call. You might be wondering why do people make such one ring call scams? What benefit do they get out of it? Well, apparently, these scammers get their commission from the phone companies whose premium rate number they use to trick you. They may get up to $1 for every incoming call! Hundreds of thousands of people get tricked every day; so you can imagine the kind of easy money scammers are making. It is a nexus between individuals and some phone companies in Africa and countries of erstwhile USSR.
Can You Get Your Money Back?
Unfortunately not. You cannot get the money back as it is already charged for the call that you made yourself. Technically, the scammers are not offenders in this case. They simply offer you a bait and you take it. You make the call in response to the missed call on your own will. So, the phone networks are legally allowed to collect the charges from you.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed by One Ring Scammers?
There are a few things that you can do to avoid getting trapped in such scams.
Do not pick any call that is coming from other countries where the phone number remains unrecognized. Give special attention to calls coming from African and erstwhile USSR countries. I am giving a list of more suspicious countries below. Don’t take calls from these countries if the number is not saved in your phone book. If you’re really expecting a call from these countries, it is better to first receive the phone number through WhatsApp or SMS or Email and save it in your phone book. If you miss such a one ring scam call —do not call back. If you’re unsure about the origin of call, you should look up for the country code in Google. The search will tell you the country of origin. Use mobile apps like TrueCaller to identify unknown numbers. Do not pick an unidentified number unless TrueCaller gives you information. Report all the suspicious calls to your phone operator. You can use various call blocking apps to block a particular number. If the spammer is using different numbers, you can also block an entire country code.
List of Countries to Watch out for in the One Ring Scam
+221 – Senegal+222 – Mauritania+223 – Mali+224 – Guinea+225 – Côte d’Ivoire+226 – Burkina Faso+227 – Niger+228 – Togo+229 – Benin+257 – Burundi+265 – Malawi+92 – Pakistan+ 7 – Russia+234 – Nigeria+216 – Tunisia+375 – Belarus+91 – India+20 – Egypt+235 – Chad+381 – Serbia+994 – Azerbaijan+676 – Tonga