Is There a Global Surge of Wangiri?

Recent weeks have seen the public be warned about wangiri calls in Hong Kong, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. Alarming language has been used in each case. The South China Morning Post reports that…

…police have warned Hongkongers to beware of a rampant global “missed call” scam, after receiving about 140 inquiries from people who had questions about international calls from unknown numbers.

News.com.au warned Australians about how much their countrymen have lost in 2018 already.

…the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s deputy chair, Delia Rickard, recommended ignoring calls from country codes you don’t recognise… According to the ACCC’s ScamWatch, Australians have lost more than $48,000 [USD43,000] to premium service scam calls in the past year.

Arabian Business wrote that UAE operator Etisalat has had to take measures to protect customers.

Etisalat has reminded phone users to be vigilant of phone phishing following reports of UAE residents being hit by the ‘Wangiri scam’… “[We have] rolled out several scam awareness campaigns for our customers and we will continue to raise awareness through mainstream media and social media as well,” Etisalat said in a statement.

In each instance different countries are listed amongst the sources for the wangiri calls. This begs the question of whether wangiri is becoming more common because the same gangs are extending their efforts, or if different criminals around the world are just adopting similarly profitable techniques.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Director of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.