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Getting calls from a strange number? Consumers warned not to return them

ComReg advised consumers to be vigilant at all times.

Image: fizkes via Shutterstock

A NUMBER OF people have been receiving calls from numbers based in Vanuatu in what’s believed to be a scam.

It’s understood that the phone rings briefly and doesn’t give much time for the person to answer – which may lead them to call back.

When people did answer the call from the Vanuatu-based number +678 559 4768/9, a woman’s voice said: “I’ve been waiting for you”.

The calls seem to be coming from the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean.

A spokesperson for ComReg said it has not received any consumer contacts that specifically mention the Vanuatu numbers.

However, the calls have also been reported in other countries where it’s understood that people are charged up to $8 (€6.75) per minute when they call back.

A number of others are reporting calls coming from Tonga, Nauru, Mauritania and Seychelles.

Some of the calls from the Tonga numbers +676 848 8476, +676 848 8483 and Nauru number +674 559 8271 came in yesterday.

The ComReg spokesperson added that scam calls can take on many forms and advised consumers to be vigilant at all times.

Unfortunately there is no way to identify a scam call number, and they can resemble a very normal, familiar, geographical number that we would come across on a daily basis.

In a statement the communications regulator said, “We would advise consumers that returning calls to unknown international numbers can be costly and we advise consumers to exercise caution when they receive a missed call from such numbers.”

ComReg also offered the following advice:

• Hang up immediately, on calls where there appears to be no recipient on the other end
• Be wary of multiple calls being received from the same number
• Do not call back any number that leaves you a blank voicemail message
• Do not provide any personal information for example – banking details PPS number/credit card details/name and address/passport numbers etc

Earlier this month a Cork woman described how she was verbally abused by a scammer after she called the first number that appeared when she googled a helpline number to regain access to a gmail account she had been locked out of.

Consumers can contact ComReg on consumerline@comreg.ie or by calling 01 804 9668.

Read: ‘You deserve this, you c***’: Scammer seeking credit card number verbally abuses Cork woman>

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