Rita heard her phone ring at around 1:35 am. She woke up and saw a missed call flashed in her mobile with a code +216. She was confused and assumed the call could be important. She called back. Her call was answered but there was no response from the other end. Rita disconnected the call but Rs. 60 got deducted from her prepaid account by then. Lately, these incidents have become common and the callers are being conned into returning these dubious calls. This was termed as ‘One Ring Scam’. The callers generally have automatic dialers and they call random numbers. They depend on general human tendency to return calls, especially those made during unusual time for the fear of being certain emergency. Upon returning these calls, the victims are sometimes directed to expensive international hotline – usually an offensive adult site. Sometimes, the callers hear music and other musical sounds. Certain users can get messages like, “Call back, its urgent.” Not only the calls are expensive, but staying on the calls can make you suffer data loss too.
The Corporate Communication Managers of popular Telecom organizations have stated that they have received complaints from numerous customers of different regions about such calls and mysterious deduction of money from their account balance. The operators have commenced to alert the customers about receiving such calls. There are complaints about a criminal group based in Malawi, Africa that they retrieve personal data stored on a person’s phone through such calls.
Such malpractices are termed as “Malawi Scam”. Here, the criminal targets on hitting multiple potential targets at the same time. On an average, one person responds to such calls on every 99 people. The victims are all those who generally wait for some urgent or important calls. These calls even try to steal confidential data from the victims’ phones.
eScan suggests how to avoid being a victim of ‘Malawi Scam’:
- If you do not recognize a number, it is advisable not to call them back.
- If you wish to call back, then it is better to check the number with the help of Google. Checking the area code can give a clear idea about the authenticity of the number.
- If you are on Android OS, then you can get a device running on Android 4.4 (KitKat), which has an in-built number identification system. It helps in identification of legitimate numbers.
- You need to scrutinize your monthly phone bill for unclear charges. Your service provider knows all about similar scams. The reversal of the charge is possible if your complain is genuine.