Guyanese advised not to return calls to suspicious numbers, Digicel working to block communication


Following an upsurge in unsolicited calls from overseas numbers, the Government is urging persons not to return calls to the telephone numbers they do not recognize.

Several Guyanese have posted screenshots of Russian and Switzerland numbers that made contact with them this week; while some persons answered and received no response, most of the calls ended after the second or third ring.

While the unwanted calls to subscribers are not unique to Guyana, an advisory posted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) and Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes explained that “it is apparently intended to get subscribers to return calls to numbers which are then billed at a premium rate.”

When contacted by News Room, Digicel Guyana assured that it has not shared telephone numbers with any third party and that their database was not hacked.

“This is a case of a person or group of persons using some sort of automated device to send calls randomly to various number combinations to commit fraud,” the Public Relations Officer of Digicel Guyana, Vidya Sanichara noted in an email to the News Room.

She said the company is actively blocking communication with the numbers and would also advise customers not to call the numbers.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (Washington DC), the scam is not new.

Last updated in September 2017, the FCC noted that the numbers appearing on victims phones are actually associated with international pay-per-call phone numbers. If you return a call, you may be connected to an international hotline that can charge a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees if they can keep you on the phone.

The scam, the FCC said, appears to be a variation of fraud involving phoney messages on answering machines urging you to call a number with unfamiliar area code to collect a fake prize or find out about a “sick” relative.

The authority has provided a guide to avoid being scammed.

Additionally, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority last year provided a list of countries to watch out for the ‘One Ring’ scam from.

List of countries to watch out One Ring Scam:

+7 Russia
+20 Egypt
+27 South Africa
+40 Romania
+41 Switzerland
+44 UK
+49 German
+52 Mexico
+56 Chile
+62 Indonesia
+68 Samoa
+91 India
+92 Pakistan
+96 Maldives
+98 Iran
+212 Morocco
+216 Tunisia
+220 Gambia
+221 Senegal
+222 Mauritania
+223 Mali
+224 Guinea
+225 Côte d’Ivoire
+227 Niger
+228 Togo
+229 Benin
+232 Sierra Leone
+234 Nigeria
+235 Chad
+248 Seychelles
+249 Sudan
+252 Somalia
+254 Kenya
+255 Tanzania
+256 Uganda
+257 Burundi
+261 Madagascar
+265 Malawi
+269 Comoros
+316 Netherlands
+370 Lithuania
+371 Latvia
+375 Belarus
+380 Ukraine
+381 Serbia
+387 Bosniaherzogonovia
+487 Kazakhstan
+509 Haiti
+563 Valparaiso
+675 Papua New Guinea
+676 Tonga
+679 Fiji
+686 Kiribati
+855 Cambodia
+962 Jordan
+966 Saudi Arabia
+994 Azerbaijan


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