Scammers hit local phones

Phone companies are advising householders not to call back unknown numbers.

Hundreds of households in the district have been receiving nuisance calls in the middle of the night recently.

Vodafone New Zealand’s cyber defence specialist Mark Corrigan says Vodafone’s fraud squad is investigating.

“We know these sorts of nuisance calls can be incredibly frustrating and even alarming,” he says.

“From what we know so far, because there is an actual caller voice heard, this doesn’t follow the same pattern as a typical ‘Wangiri’ scam.

“In a Wangiri call, fraudsters have compromised the system that manages interconnect charges internationally and relies on customers calling back numbers from unknown callers. The scammers then fraudulently receive the cost of the call.

“But these calls don’t follow this pattern as there is an actual human voice heard. The numbers we have seen so far in this particular case both seem to originate from the United States.”

Mr Corrigan says receiving a call like this does not necessarily mean an unlisted number is unsecure as the scams are usually made up of lists of random numbers.

“The best advice we have for customers in the meantime 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.”

Spark has asked its customers to report any unwanted or nuisance calls to

They also encourage customers to think twice before providing personal information to strangers or when entering competitions.

“Sometimes this information can be accessed or sold to third parties. Another way scammers can obtain phone numbers is by using an auto-dial system, which adds a one each time it dials a new number, thus resulting in the systematic calling of numbers in a particular area.”


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