The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned Australians to think twice before replying to “missed calls”.
ACCC deputy chief Delia Rickard said there has recently been a dramatic increase in scam phone calls from international numbers. These calls are called “wangiri calls”, a Japanese word meaning “one ring and cut”.
The scammers ring your phone, then immediately hang up, so you get a “missed call” notification. But how does this cost you money?
The scammers know that many people will simply reply to a missed call, even if they don't know who is ringing. When you ring back, the scammers try to keep you on the phone for as long as possible. They might play music, read a horoscope, or just put you on hold. Every second you are on the phone, it is costing you money, and that goes into the scammer's pocket.
Ms Rickard said migrants are more likely to get scammed, especially if the call seems to come from their home country.
The ACCC has received 190 complaints since January, but there may be more cases which were not reported.
The best advice is not to ring back a missed call unless you know the number. If it is important, or not a scam, they will ring again.
You can also block the number, or report it to Scamwatch on the ACCC website.