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CA cautions Kenyans on resurgence of ‘Wangiri’ phone scam

Authorities Warn Citizens to Stay Vigilant and Take Precautionary Measures

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has issued a warning about the resurgence of the notorious “Wangiri” mobile phone scam, which has recently plagued unsuspecting mobile phone users across the country. The National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC) has received confirmed reports of this scam, prompting authorities to urge citizens to exercise caution.

Originating from Japan, the ‘Wangiri’ phone scam involves scammers making brief calls to mobile phones, allowing them to ring only once before abruptly hanging up. This tactic aims to entice victims into returning the call out of curiosity, unaware that they are being redirected to premium numbers that deplete their mobile credit.

Reports of the ongoing Wangiri scam have surfaced on various platforms, including social media, where concerned individuals have shared their experiences. Users have been tricked into staying on the line by listening to prerecorded messages, enabling the scammers to profit further. Post-paid subscribers may remain unaware of the scam until they receive their monthly bills, while pre-paid users risk losing their loaded credit.

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The scammers have been utilising phone numbers with country codes such as +51 (Peru) and +64 (New Zealand). The Communication Authority says these telephone numbers are illicitly acquired from the Dark Web, an obscure part of the internet notorious for facilitating the sale of illegal goods and services.

To protect themselves from falling victim to the Wangiri scam, the Communications Authority advises the public to take the following preventive measures:

  1. Do not call back any international number that is unfamiliar or unrecognized.
  2. If you have already fallen victim to the scam, report the number to your service provider. This will enable them to block the numbers, preventing further individuals from becoming victims.

The National KE-CIRT/CC, a collaborative framework within the Communications Authority of Kenya, serves as the country’s trusted point of contact for cyber security matters. Operating around the clock, the center detects, prevents, and responds to various cyber threats. It also coordinates national-level responses to cyber security issues in collaboration with relevant local and international stakeholders.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the National KE-CIRT/CC through incidents@ke-cirt.go.ke or the dedicated hotlines +254703 042700 and +254 730-172700 to report incidents or seek advice on cyber security.

With the resurgence of the Wangiri mobile phone scam, the authorities emphasize the importance of staying vigilant and exercising caution when receiving calls from unfamiliar international numbers. By remaining aware and promptly reporting any suspicious incidents, citizens can play an active role in combating these scams and protecting themselves from financial losses.

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