We're deploying smart, network-wide technology to stop 'Wangiri' scammers from reaching you. Here's everything you need to know...

Have you heard about the Wangiri scam? It’s an international phone fraud tactic that’s been known to add hundreds of pounds to unsuspecting smartphone owner’s bills.

Luckily, help is at hand: In August we deployed some clever phone tech to stop the scam reaching our customers, and we’ve stopped over 190 million incoming calls since then! Here’s everything you need to know…

Block party

Wangiri is a Japanese word meaning ‘one ring and cut’. And that’s exactly how the scam operates: victims will receive a single ring from an unknown number in an international location. Seems harmless, but it isn’t. If curiosity gets the better of you and you ring that number back, your call will be rerouted through a high-cost premium line, leaving you with a hefty phone bill, and leaving the callers in profit.

Over the last year the scam has become a popular means for fraudsters to target phone owners in the UK from a range of international locations.

But now Vodafone is bringing that to an end, with some clever network tech that kills those calls before they reach our customers.

The new system, which we’ve rolled out to Vodafone’s entire UK network, will detect when a Wangiri scammer is trying to call you and, when identified, block the call. In practice, that means you’ll never know anything’s happened – you’ll just be moved silently out of the caller’s firing line without having to do anything.

Of course, if you do still receive any troubling calls, all you need to do is text CALL to 7726, free of charge. We’ll reply asking for the number in question, and then we’ll get to work.

“The message we’re sending to criminal gangs behind the Wangiri scam is don’t call our customers,” says Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey. “We’re determined to do what we can to stamp out fraudulent practices, whether it is false PPI calls or bogus accident claim calls coming from the UK or international phone rackets. We will also continue to share our intelligence with other mobile companies so we can act as one.”

And, true to our word, this is far from our first foray into the world of nuisance call blocking. Back in 2016, for instance, Vodafone became the first mobile company to automatically block bulk spam and scam calls generated by UK-based diallers.

Roughly two million of these calls are stopped in their tracks every day as a result, but we’re always working to make things even tougher for would be phone scammers. You can find out more here.

Find out how our call blocking magic works… Here’s how we rolled out the UK’s first scam call-blocking tech.