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Madagascar scam: Stay alert against missed calls in Kolkata

  • Pay-per-call international number missed call scam resurfaces in India
  • Calls from odd numbers with Madagascar code, often disconnected after 1-2 rings
  • Cyber experts warn users not to call back, charged at international call rates, costing victims hundreds of dollar

03 Apr 2023

The pay-per-call international number missed call scam that has been around since 2018 seems to have reared its head again in the country as several network users are receiving such calls.

However, while no police complaint has been filed, cyber experts in the city have warned users to be careful when answering calls from odd numbers.

It's known as a scam in Madagascar, with calls coming from +261 (there are a number of other numbers originating from other countries as well), police said. These calls come in at odd times and are often disconnected after one or two rings, not giving the receiver enough time to answer the call. The call appears in the potential victim's phone log as a missed call, tempting them to call back, especially if they have relatives residing or traveling to foreign shores.

Once the target victim calls back, a voice will say, "Hello, you have reached an operator, please wait." Even if the victim does this patiently, he is charged per minute at international call rates.

"These calls are often made through cloud-based applications using session initiation technology. This not only causes the victim to lose money, but even the exchequer loses money. It is not possible to link where these calls originated from," said Bivas Chatterjee, special prosecutor and cyber expert .

"This is one of the oldest tricks used by fraudsters. However, its return only means that they are looking for new targets. Call costs can be in the hundreds of dollars for even one call," said a former cybercrime officer. who now works with a leading bank as its cyber security officer. Experts say maternal callers have an incentive to keep the victim on the line as long as possible.


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