Here's why you're getting weird calls from overseas numbers

Publish Date
Monday, 3 April 2017, 8:35AM

It sounds like over the weekend, a lot of people got weird phone calls from overseas numbers. 

It seems that there's been an increase over the last few days in the spamming technique known as "Wangiri".

'Wangiri' is a Japanese word meaning "one ring and cut".

Many numbers received by Kiwis seem to be from numbers beginning with 0088 or 002, originating in Chad. In case you have no idea wtf "Chad" is, it's a country in north-central Africa.

Vodafone said it registered an increase in 'Wangiri' attempts on its network, but have said there has been no security breach. 

"In this case the fraudsters have compromised the system that manages interconnect charges internationally (interconnect charges occur when different network operators transfer customer calls across their networks)," the company said.

"The best advice we have for customers is to ignore any calls that you wouldn’t otherwise be expecting from unfamiliar country codes. Let them go to voicemail. Do not call the number back."

What does this mean? In order for phone companies to connect across countries, there's a system that processes the connections and makes sure that any international charges are passed on to the person making the call, from the country the call was made to.

What's happened in this case is that the fraudsters have compromised the system. They rely on you calling them back and if you do, they are getting the cost per minute of that call.