A widespread automated phone scam dubbed “Wangiri”, which is Japanese for “one ring and drop”, is using automated dialing machines to repeatedly dial phone numbers one time before hanging up. Incoming calls may appear to come from a variety of phone numbers, including “unknown caller”, “no caller id”, or spoofed domestic or international phone numbers. Calls may even appear with three digit area codes that appear to be domestic, but are associated with pay-per-call international phone numbers. The goal is to get the recipients/victims to call back and remain on the call as long as possible, while the call is routed to a premium rate service which can charge a connection fee and then bill victims for significant per minute charges.
As it is not possible to block calls that are received from an “unknown caller” or “no caller id”, it is recommended that you do not answer unexpected calls, calls that you suspect may be spoofed, or return calls coming from unexpected or unknown phone numbers. If you return a call to an unknown number and hear an odd message, it is recommended that you immediately hang up. Further, if you do not frequently make international calls, you may want to consider asking your service provider to block all outgoing international calls.
Please see the following NJCCIC blog post for carrier specific call blocking options: Tired of Receiving Scam Calls? Don’t Just Sit There. Do Something About It. Additionally, if you have been a victim of an international phone scam, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.