Feeds

Mobile phone scam kills curious cats

'Wangiri' warning

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

NTT DoCoMo has been forced to introduce countermeasures to a mobile phone scam that is causing consternation in Japan.

The scam, which is known in Japanese as "wangiri" (one ring and cut), involves a computer using hundreds of phone lines to dial mobile phones numbers at random.

After one ring, the call hangs-up, which leaves the number stored in the receiving party's mobile phone.

If the person returns the call they are connected to a sales tape soliciting business, and sometimes sex, services and are usually charged at premium rates for the call by the subscriber at the other end.

Not only is the scam proving to be a major irritation for mobile phone users in Japan, but it is also disrupting business. Twice during August the phone lines in Osaka and the surrounding region have been jammed because of the scam.

Although one of NTT's regional subsidiaries has cut-off service to a company suspected of engaging in such activity, there is no legislation in Japan that makes the scam illegal.

In addition, NTT cannot release the names of businesses it suspects of being involved in the wangiri because of privacy legislation.

NTT DoCoMo had appealed to customers not to return calls from unknown numbers, but it appears that the allure of the mystery caller has proven stronger among the mobile-loving Japanese.

As a result, NTT DoCoMo said on Thursday that it was introducing a series of features over the coming months that it believes will thwart the efforts of the scammers.

The first of these is a new ring tone that remains silent during the first ring of an incoming call.

This, said DoCoMo, should mean that the customer's phone will not ring in the case of an incoming "wangiri" call. The download for the tone is to be made available sometime in September.

Another option put forward was for customers to use the "step-tone" feature that is already available in most DoCoMo phones. With "step-tone", the phone remains silent during the first ring, then gradually raises the ringing volume with subsequent rings.

In addition, DoCoMo said it will begin equipping phones with a feature that informs the customer of how long each incoming call rings for. It believes that this will help users determine if an incoming call from an unknown phone number might be a "wangiri" call. Phones equipped with the new feature will be made available in the autumn.

The final option from the mobile phone company is a service that allows users to register up to 19 "offending" telephone numbers on a dedicated network of DoCoMo.

"If subsequent calls are placed from the registered number to the customer, the network will intercept the call and play a tape informing the caller that the receiving party will not accept the call," said DoCoMo. The service will start in late October and will be available on nearly all DoCoMo phones. © ENN

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.