OK, mobile phone lovers, let’s start
with an oldie but a goodie: cut-off calls
The frequency of reports on this little doozey
are hard to ignore. In fact, it has become
such a problem, that in some areas, mobile
networks are getting jammed with ‘wangiri’
calls. ‘Wangiri’ is derived from
the English word ‘one’ (or ‘wan’
as it is pronounced in Japanese phonetics)
and ‘kiru’, which means ‘to
cut’. In other words, a ‘wangiri’
call, is a call that is cut off or hung up
after 1 ring.
how this little scam works: the potential
victim receives a call from an unknown origin
(which, in many cases, happens to be a computer
capable of dialing thousands of numbers
each minute). The unsuspecting recipient’s
phone will ring once and then it will stop.
Intrigued by who may have called, the recipient
returns the call only to hear an adult entertainment
recording. Now, although a little bit of
adult entertainment might not be so bad
in itself, the caller-turned-victim is charged
an exorbitant rate for this phone call.
good rule of thumb for avoiding wangiri
victimization is self evident: don’t
return calls to unknown phone numbers.
what happens if you are constantly dealing
with business calls on your phone and usually
have to return calls from customers? One
suggestion is to enter the 184 prefix upon
returning a call to cloak your phone number.
This will help prevent scam artists from
landing you with a big fat undeserved bill.
Another solution is to use the ‘step
tone’ ringer function, if you have
one. This function renders an incoming phone
call inaudible for the first ring but gets
progressively louder. Although this does
prevent you from immediately returning a
call, it does little in the way of identifying
a call as a wangiri.
Beginning in October 2002, when it became
apparent that these nasty wangiri calls
were becoming a serious issue, the Japanese
government began revising the Wire Telecommunications
Law, to enact penal provisions for wangiri
perpetrators. The problem with these provisions,
as per any action targeting criminal activity,
is that the offenders first be found before
they can be prosecuted.
nation’s phone companies have also
attempted to address this problem. For instance,
Docomo has approached the issue by providing
a service that allows users to measure how
long any particular caller rang for. This
service thus identifies any one or two second
calls as possible wangiri.
At present, preventative measure to shut
down these wangiri predators remains elusive.
Until the invention of some sort of scam
seeking missile, do yourself a big favor
and resist the urge to return a call from
any unknown callers. Like my mother always
said: ‘forewarned is forearmed’.
this space for updates and countermeasures
you can implement to decrease your scam
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