Wangiri: call scam hits Hungarian mobile subscribers

Telenor and its customers put in place effective protection against scammers

Last weekend, Hungarian mobile customers were hit by a Wangiri-type scam where missed calls are being made from far-flung countries to encourage people to call back expensive international numbers. The scammers earn money after international, potentially premium-rate, calls. During the weekend, Telenor’s network received over 100,000 such calls but the operator blocked these numbers immediately to protect its customers.

Scammers select their targets from the customer base of different operators on a random basis, presumably using an automated system. Then they make mass calls and hang up before you have a chance to answer their call. You face unexpected costs – and fraudsters earn a revenue – if you return the call and the international call initiated by you is successfully set up. Please note that customers staying in the EU don’t face any charge if they answer such a call.

When you return the call, it is answered by an automated system that plays a recorded ring-tone so that you would stay longer and generate more revenue for them. In other cases, the system plays  the interrupted call tone so that you would assume that the call was dropped and put the phone in your pocket while the established international call goes on, potentially for long minutes.

During the weekend Wangiri scam wave, calls were initiated from more than 1,000 different international numbers of 31 countries. Due to customers’ alertness and Telenor’s fast network intervention, few of them were successful and the return call rate was just a few percentages with 99% of the calls being shorter than 1 minute.

Telenor warns Hungarian mobile users not to return any call from an unknown international number or verify the authenticity of the call by sending an SMS message, if necessary.