MTN releases warning about “Missed Call Scam”

11 Mar

Have you been receiving strange missed calls from international numbers recently? You could be the victim of the latest missed call scam to hit South Africa. In response this most recent scam, MTN was quick to release public warnings urging cell phone users to be cautious when receiving calls from unknown international numbers.

On the 18th of January 2019, MTN sent out a bulk SMS informing its customers to be wary of returning calls to international numbers or responding to requests to call international numbers.

How can a missed call be a scam?

If you’ve been caught out by this scam in the past, you are not alone. And if you are wondering how a missed call can be part of some elaborate scam, it’s easier than you might think.

The intention of the call is not to steal your personal data or trick you in to making an online purchase, but rather to make you spend money.

What happens is that you receive a missed call from an international number. You assume that the call is“important”; after all, it comes from overseas. When you call the number back, you may be placed on hold for a few seconds or even minutes. While you are waiting, you are racking up a bill of hundreds of rand as you are unknowingly calling a premium rate number.

The scamster wins because they earn a portion of the amount racked up. And you? Well, you lose a lot of money that you will never get back!

How to avoid being a victim of call scams

Unfortunately, many consumers will fall victim to fraud and or scams at some point or another, but there are precautions to take to safeguard yourself better.

  • Install the TrueCaller app which helps to identify known spam numbers. This app will tell you when spam calls are coming through to your phone. You can easily download the app via your smartphone’s app store.
  • Don’t automatically return calls to unknown numbers, especially if they are overseas numbers.
  • If you receive a call request or a missed call from a foreign or unknown number, Google search the number first. You will be surprised at what you find, especially if the number is a spam number.
  • Set a limit on your cell phone contract that reduces the risk of thousands of rand in call costs being racked up.

Being aware of the potential risks is the first step to protecting yourself. The cell phone community have MTN to thank for their public awareness campaign regarding this particular phone scam.

Have you been a victim of the latest missed call scam? Let us know how it happened and how you were caught out so that we can advise other clients about the potential risks of call scams.

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