CA tells Kenyans not to return unknown international calls

Shot of an unrecognizable woman using a mobile phone indoors. [Courtesy]

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has warned Kenyans over the return of the ‘Wangiri’ phone scam.

In a statement, CA Director General Ezra Chiloba said it they have confirmed reports of the scam and that Kenyans have reported the same on social media.

The scam borrows its “Wangiri” name from Japan, which means “one ring and cut” – wan means “one” and giri means “hang up”.

The scam occurs after a victim receives a call from an unknown international number, the phone only rings once before dropping, and when the victims return the call, their airtime is depleted.

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

According to CA, once a victim returns the call, they are made to listen to recorded messages and the longer they stay on the line the more they lose and the more 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,” said Chiloba.

CA says that victims in the country have reported getting calls from phone numbers in Peru (+51) and New Zealand (+64) among others.

The authority says the phone numbers making the calls are illegally purchased by scammers from the Dark Web.

“Do not call back any international number that you don’t recognize,” warned Chiloba.

“If you happen to already be a victim, report the number to your service provider so that they can block the numbers. This stops other users from becoming victims,” he added.