Scammers know as much about the technology as the companies that develop it, and combining expertise with insight into human nature delivers a money-making racket. The so-called Wangiri scam that has hit mobile phone users in Ireland is the latest example.
The crook calls numbers from abroad, hanging up quickly, the hope being that the intended victim will see the missed call message and ring back because they’re not aware — until they see their monthly bill — that they’re phoning a machine in Nigeria, Liberia or Kazakhstan.
Phone companies urge users to ignore calls from numbers they do not recognise and warn them that they are responsible for the cost of the calls they make. But folks are curious and can’t be expected to remember all of the numbers of those in their social and business circles, or know if a number is from overseas.
Here’s one tip for handling a number that doesn’t ring a bell or looks as if it might be dodgy: ignore it; if it’s that important, they’ll send a text message. Or (shocking idea) a letter.