VODAFONE has warned all phone users over a sinister type of scam known as "wangiri".
It's a common and well-known scam that leaves you with big bills – but you might not even realise that it's happening.
The costly con takes a matter of seconds to carry out, and is surprisingly simple.
In an official security memo, Vodafone revealed how the scam works and detailed how to avoid becoming a "wangiri" victim.
"It’s receiving missed calls from international numbers you don’t recognise on either a mobile or a fixed-line phone," Vodafone explained.
"The fraudsters generating the missed calls hope that their expensive international numbers will be called back so that they can profit.
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"If you receive calls like this, be assured that you haven’t been specifically targeted.
"It’s likely that the fraudster has generated a missed call to a whole range of mobile numbers that happens to include yours."
The name "wangiri" comes from a Japanese word that means "one and cut".
That's because scammers typically let the phone ring once before hanging up – in hopes of you calling back.
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It's a classic scam that has been around for decades – and still claims victims even today.
The best way to avoid the scam is to avoid returning calls to international numbers that you don't recognise.
Otherwise you could end up with big bills – and become the target for more attempts at the same scam in the future.
The good news is that Vodafone says it refunds its customers who have been caught out
"We don’t want you to be out of pocket as a result of these scams," Vodafone explained.
"So we refund all customers who have returned a call to a confirmed fraudulent Wangiri number automatically.
"We aim to process these refunds within 30 days and we’ll text you to confirm when the refund has been applied."
If you're not a Vodafone customer, you'll need to check with your provider to find out if you can get your money back.
The best advice is to simply avoid becoming a victim of "wangiri" in the first place.
Simply ignore international missed calls: if it's important, they'll leave a voicemail or contact you in some other way.
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Vodafone said it proactively monitors its network for "wangiri" scams.
Remember: "wangiri" can strike on any phone network at any time, so always keep it in mind if you receive unexpected missed calls.
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