Japanese Horror Phone Calls’ scam ‘Wangiri,’ hits Kenya soon to enter Tanzania

Something horrid from the Dark Web is surfacing in East Africa.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), through the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC), has received confirmed reports of the of the Wangiri phone scam.

The scam is traced back to Japan where it originated and is now taking toll onto gullible East African residents.

This occurs when scammers place calls on certain mobile phone numbers, leave it to ring once, then hang up before the owner can answer it.

According to reports from the Kenyan Police, this type of scam originated from Japan and is popularly known as ‘One-Ring-And-Cut,’ scam.

‘Wan,’ means ‘One,’ while ‘Giri,’ means “hang up” in Japanese.

How Wan-giri Works

There has been an ongoing Wan-giri scam in Kenya that has been reported by users on various platforms including social media.

As it claims victims in the neighbouring country, Tanzanians have been cautioned to be aware of the scam as it may soon spread across the border.

So far, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is still unaware.

The scam is designed to lure innocent and unsuspecting mobile phone users to return the “urgent” international calls upon which they are unknowingly redirected to premium numbers that drain their credit.

During the calls, users are made to listen to a recorded message so as to keep the caller connected.

The longer the caller stays connected, the more money the scammers make.

In such a case, post-paid subscribers are likely to be unaware because they receive their bills at the end of the month.

The pre-paid subscribers can only lose as much as their loaded credit.

In Kenya, many of the calls have been reported to be emanating from telephone numbers with the following codes: +51 (Peru), +64 (New Zealand), among others.

These telephone numbers are illegally purchased by these scammers from the Dark Web, which is a hidden part of the Internet, known for buying and selling illegal goods and services.

Protection from Wangiri

The Authority is therefore advising the public to beware and put in place the following preventive measures:

DO NOT CALL BACK any international number that you don’t recognize.

If you happen to already be a victim, REPORT THE NUMBER to your service provider so that they can block the numbers.

This stops other users from becoming victims.

About National KE-CIRT/CC

The National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team – Coordination Center (National KE-CIRT/CC) is a multi-agency collaboration framework at the Communications Authority of Kenya. It is Kenya’s national trusted point of contact on cyber security matters.

The National KE-CIRT/CC detects, prevents and responds to various cyber threats targeted at the country on a 24/7 basis, and coordinates response to cyber security matters at the national level in collaboration with relevant actors locally and internationally.

Ezra Chiloba, the Director General, is advising Members of the public are advised to contact the National KE-CIRT/CC via the email address incidents@ke-cirt.go.ke or through the dedicated hot lines +254703 042700, +254730-172700 to report an incident or seek advice on cyber security.