What is Wangiri fraud

We've been hearing the term Wangiri fraud thrown around lately, and thought it merited a post to explain what exactly it means.

Wangiri, in Japanese, means "one-andcut." That is, one ring and a cut off phone call. A wangiri phone fraud scheme relies on this single ring method for a quick way to make money. It works like this:

  1. A fraudster sets up a computer to dial a large number of phone numbers at random. Each rings just once, then hangs up.
  1. This leaves a number as a missed call on the recipients' phone.
  1. Curious users often see the missed call and believe a legitimate call was cut off, or are simply curious as to who called, so they dial the missed number.
  1. The number turns out to be a premium rate number - anything from advertising to "free prizes" to sex services.

This particular flavor of phone fraud originated in Japan, where it has proved to be a major irritation.