Australians are being urged to remain wary of a dangerous new “call-back” phone scam currently doing the rounds.
Police issued the warning on Thursday, explaining that “two nights ago, Australians, including a Mackay police officer, started receiving calls all the way from Cameroon in Central Africa.”
Senior Constable Steve Smith said the phone scam cons victims out of money by getting them to return the missed call.
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“The scammers establish themselves in locations where they can receive the highest possible yield for their international premium rate number,” Constable Smith explained.
“This means that the revenue made from your international call to their newly set up phone number is shared between the telephone company and the scammers.”
“The rates charged for these return international calls are the highest possible you could imagine.
“Prepaid users often find themselves with little to no credit left afterwards, other phone users only identify the damage incurred when they receive their next phone bill.”
Constable Smith warned that the scammers will try to do everything they can to keep you on the phone line for longer.
“To make it worse – if you decide to call back this number, the person who answers your call will do every thing in their power to ensure you stay on the line for as long as possible.”
“People have been told in these call backs that they have won large sums of money, that a family member has died or has been seriously injured – they have even been exposed to conversations of a sexual nature, all in an effort to keep them on the phone for as long as possible – ever increasing the cost to the victim.”
Authorities fear a large number of these scam calls could be made and are urging people to remain extremely vigilant.
If you identify a number from Cameroon as a missed call on your phone DO NOT call it back.
To report a scam, visit the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network here.