Phone scammers getting sneakier

Police are warning Australians of a sneaky phone scam known as the “one ring and cut” and of another where a caller asks “Can you hear me?”

The “one ring and cut” scammers hail from Africa, and they call at inconvenient times hoping you don’t answer. That way, when you call back, you’ll be slammed with exorbitant international call rates charged by a toll number. The proceeds of these calls are then shared between the phone companies and the scammers.

The caller will try to keep you on the line for the longest possible time, thus increasing the money fleeced from you for the phone call.

“This means that the revenue made from your international call to their newly set up phone number is shared between the telephone company and the scammers,” said Senior Constable Steve Smith.

“The rates charged for these return international calls are the highest possible you could imagine.

“Prepaid users often find themselves with little to no credit left afterwards, other phone users only identify the damage incurred when they receive their next phone bill.”

A similar scam originates from New Zealand called the Wangiri scam.

Police are urging people to not return calls to unknown numbers or any calls originating from Cameroon, New Zealand, or unknown international numbers.

Another scam doing the rounds is the “Can you hear me?” con. A scammer calls and asks the question hoping you’ll say “Yes”. The ‘yes’ is then used as voice identification to authorise payments on your behalf.

While it may seem random, should the scammer have your mobile number and name, they may also have other information about you that can be used to rip you off. So, police advise that you hang up immediately if you receive this phone call.

Have you received either of these calls?

Related articles:
NBN scam targeting older Australians
Inside a scammer’s bag of tricks
Avoiding identity theft

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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