'Increase' in 'Wangiri-type' phone call scams prompts warning from telcos

There's been a "noticeable increase" in the scams.
There's been a "noticeable increase" in the scams. Photo credit: Getty.

A "noticeable increase" in "Wangiri-type" phone call scams has prompted a warning from a telecommunications industry group.

According to New Zealand Telecommunications Forum chief executive Geoff Thorn, a Wangiri-type call is one where the phone rings just "once or twice" before suddenly stopping. 

"What [the scammers] are trying to do is to get you to ring the number back because then what they do is they hold you on the line for quite a long time and they earn money from that call," he told Newshub. 

He said these phone calls typically come from overseas - often originating in Africa - and charge a premium rate. 

"You will often get put on hold and the scammer will do all sorts of things to make you stay on the line for as long as possible. They are earning money from the nature of that call and you will end up with a bill on your phone bill that you are paying for… and that money is going to the scammer."

In the last few days, the TCF has noticed an increase in these types of phone calls, prompting a reminder about the scam.

"If you see a missed call on your phone which has a number that appears to come from overseas, unless you recognise the number, don't ring it back."

Thorn said if Kiwis believe they have been the subject of a Wangiri-type call, they should contact their telecommunications providers so that it can be investigated and blocked. Having the time the call came through, the number and any other information about it's nature helps. 

"The industry has done quite a lot of work to enable it to share information among the different providers to allow it to block calls as quickly as possible. We need that information to be provided by consumers so we can block them."