Don’t return unknown int’l calls, teleco warns

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 8, 2017-

Did you miss a call from countries like Seychelles or Tunisia? If you have, don’t return such calls, as they could be scams, Nepal’s largest telecommunications service providers have said.

Nepal Telecom (NT) and Ncell made the request, as more and more customers started complaining about missed international calls from unknown numbers.

Although the telecom service providers aren’t clear about what is actually happening, they said calling-back such numbers might result in huge deduction in cell phone balance. They have, thus, termed such calls as ‘fraud’.

NT has already drawn the attention of international carriers regarding calls with country and area codes such as +21698, +6749 and +212 and has asked them to block those numbers. Ncell has also stated that it has started receiving complaints about missed calls from numbers with codes such as +248 and +92. Most of these calls originate in Tunisia and Seychelles. 

Although this is probably the first time domestic telecom service providers have encountered this problem, other countries have come across similar cases in the past. And they have defined such calls as ‘one-ring’ scam. 

Scammers normally make a phone call using automated devices and let it ring just once or twice. It gives an impression to the people that they have missed a call and persuade them to revert thinking it might be an emergency or important call from a 

foreign land.

Once customer calls back, they are subjected to pay international charges. Such charges may be more than normal international tariff. According to several international media reports, such calls may cost more than $20 for the first minute alone. 

“We are not sure how scammers earn from such acts,” NT Joint Spokesperson Shobhan Adhikari said. “But we have blocked several of those numbers and the situation seems to be under control since Thursday evening. However, blocking all the numbers all the time may not be possible. So, customers need to be cautious.”

Though such calls are random, scammers use certain area at a time which is why a large number of telecom customers receive such calls in a specific location. All such calls, however, may not be scam. “It may be a genuine call too.... The only thing one shouldn’t do is return the missed call,” Adhkari said. 

Ncell Corporate Communications Expert Milan Mani Sharma informed that the company has started making its customers aware about the issue. 

“The scam modality isn’t clear as there are many. But again, there’s no doubt that such callers have ulterior motives,” Sharma said, 

adding the number of such calls has started falling down from Friday. 

Published: 08-04-2017 08:45

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