This is the 'wangiri' missed phone call scam in Spain that will cost you dearly if you ring the number back

This is the 'wangiri' missed phone call scam in Spain that will cost you dearly if you ring the number back

Spanish police have listed the most suspicious prefixes which people should be wary of

Raquel Merino


Tuesday, 12 March 2024, 10:03


Authorities in Spain are warning people of a new telephone scam where criminals attempt to dupe victims into calling back a number after missing a call, but it is one that will cost them financially.

The Organisation of Users and Consumers (OCU) said the scam is known as "wangiri", which is Japanese for: call and cut. And that is precisely what the scammers do. They call a number, barely let it ring and then hang up. When the person returns the call, they are actually calling a premium rate number, usually abroad, for which there is a hefty charge for both call set-up and connection time. But you may not actually know that you have been duped until you get your bill and see the charge

Not returning calls when the number is unknown is the only certain way to avoid the scam. If in doubt, the best thing to do is to try to check the number or even go to an online search engine and type in the exact number that appears on the phone screen to identify the caller.

Suspicious prefixes

Scam calls usually come from a foreign number, recognisable because its identifier will start with a '+' or a '00' followed by a prefix before the phone number itself (the Spanish prefix is +34 or 0034, but operators remove this prefix for national calls), the OCU pointed out.

Guardia Civil police said suspicious prefixes are from +355 Albania, +225 Ivory Coast, +233 Ghana, and +234 Nigeria, although dodgy calls could come from anywhere else. Calls with prefixes +803, +806 or +807 are also subject to special charges.

If you have fallen for the scam the OCU recommends reporting it to the police or through INCIBE - Spain's national institute of cyber security, and reminds victims to collect all the evidence that proves the scam: the phone's call log, operator bills or bank charges.

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