Beware of the ‘one-ring’ phone scam – it could cost you hundreds of rand

By Pam Magwaza
24 July 2017

If you miss a call from the foreign number, do not call them back.

Have you perhaps missed an overseas phone call from an unknown person? Or actually answered it?

Be warned: it’s part of a new hoax that’s been dubbed the Wangiri scam.

The scam targets all cell phone users, regardless of the mobile network they use and whether they have a cell phone contract or buy airtime as needed.

Read more: MTN warns customers of major SIM swap scam


According to Namola News, the con artists make their money by getting you to call them back. When you do, you’ll reportedly be kept on hold with background jingles playing in your ear.

Adding insult to injury, you be held liable for the connection fee – and an overseas call, in itself, is a costly affair.

Fortunately, the numbers you have saved on your cell phone aren’t vulnerable at this point. Basically, the Wangiri cronies create an automated system that tries out any cell phone combination possible.

And if the hook is thrown far enough, there’s likely to be a few victims who’ll take the bait.


It allegedly started in Japan. A number is dialed – may be yours – and, after a single ring, the call gets put down.

This is how the fraudsters create the impression that you missed the call. Because the number starts with 022, it initially looks like a local number.

Morné du Plessis, the operational manager for fraud at MTN, said the number used to make the phone call is changed roughly every 20 minutes.


Ensure you have a secure password for your smartphone, computer, and tablet.

Create a personal identification number (PIN) for your voicemail, so that only you have access to it.

Ensure your Facebook security settings are up to date and be wary of the personal information you share on your Facebook page.

Never give your personal details to just anyone. Only do it when you are 100% sure the person really needs your personal information.

Sources:  Namola News,

Read more: I’m a tech-savvy 20-something – but an internet scammer almost conned me out of thousands

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