Scam Alert: Missed call from overseas? Read this!
Beware of Curious Overseas Missed Call Alerts
Many of my family members remarked about receiving missed calls from foreign countries such as UK, China and Somalia recently.
They have no friends, relatives or business contacts from these countries and even if they do, the numbers were unfamiliar and they weren’t expecting any calls from anyone there at that time.
Do NOT call back!
The foreign missed calls may be related to “Wangiri fraud” which originated in Japan years ago. These calls are usually automated by computers and originate from dubious businesses with the intention to take advantage of the curiosity of unknowing users who may end up calling back and get charged premium rate calls and/or IDD charges. Many of these unknowing users are elderly or are not acquainted with the concept of foreign numbers and IDD charges. They would have no idea that a simple (and polite) return call to these numbers would cost them anywhere from a couple of dollars to hundreds of dollars.
Beware of other types of Phone Scams
Now and then, I received calls from China (+86), sometimes with strange Caller ID (e.g. +0000, +8888, etc). When the call is answered, a lady with heavy Chinese accent will ask if I speak Mandarin. She will then proceed to congratulate me for winning some lucky draw and that I need to travel to Macau to claim my prize of a brand new car! There would be some “registration / handling fees” involved which I was supposed to transfer to some foreign bank account before my arrival. Needless to say, I hung up that call and from then on, I have always pretended to be unable to speak Mandarin whenever I received such calls.
There have also been cases of more malicious callers who would call up and claim that they have kidnapped a minor in the family. Some of them have even played back convincing voice recordings of a boy or girl crying for help. Faced with such a dire situation, some parents or grandparents may hastily transfer money to the caller on their demand only to find out eventually that no kidnapping ever occurred.
Even though Singapore is a safe country, our less informed family members and friends may fall prey to phone scams. Let’s do our part to remind our loved ones not to answer or return calls from foreign / unfamiliar numbers. Here are some articles you can refer them to (or you can read to them):
Some of my posts are unofficial and may contain personal opinions which may not represent the positions and opinions of StarHub :)
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