Scam concept: Money dollar bills with scam text

What’s Wangiri?

“One ring and cut” is the translation from Japanese. It’s been used recently in connection with several mobile phone “scams.”  The Federal Communications Commission has issued a warning about returning  “missed calls” that you were unable to answer (because the caller intentionally only let it ring once and then hung up).  If you return that call, you may be unwittingly connected to a line/number with high per-minute interconnect charges, much like a “900-number” call.

For some people, of course you return a call that you received; it’s only proper, right?  Not if you do not know the caller. If the caller is not identified as someone (a “contact”) that you already have, be very suspicious, and do not return the call.  If you don’t know the caller before receiving the call, don’t return it; there might even be a message from your “grandchild” (“Grandma? Grandma? Please help me!”), or a message telling you that you have won a raffle, or prize, or cruise . . . Just don’t (return the call).

Can you “opt out” through your (mobile) phone service provider? You can turn off international calling, and that might prevent part of the calls from being placed. There are a number of “apps” (mobile phone programs) to help identify the true identity of the caller, including Truecaller, Mr. Number, Robokiller, Hiya, and Nomorobo. AT&T says that it offers some of its customers (with newer phones) an add-on called “Call Protect” to help.

This author would like to see the power of the app turned against the robocallers: someone should create an “opt in” app that works with your mobile phone, and when you get a nuisance (or fraud) call, you simply submit it to the app’s database. The app would update your phone, and all other subscribers’ phones, with that caller’s information as a fraudster (or at least an annoying “cold caller”). Perhaps such a “real time” counterattack could come closer to staying ahead of the malcallers . . . and maybe, just maybe, use the power of big data (gatherers) against them.

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