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Issue 139 - September 2012 (2ndt Edition) - Page 13

Misleading Warning about Missed Calls From +375 and +371 Numbers

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Outline
Message circulating via SMS, social media and email warns you not to return missed calls from numbers starting with +375 or +371 because you will be charged between $15 and $30 for each returned call and your contact list and financial information will be instantly stolen from your phone.



Brief Analysis
There are elements of truth to the warning but the information it contains is nevertheless highly misleading and inaccurate. Reports indicate that many people have been caught by a scam in which they were charged international call fees for returning a missed call from +375 or +371 phone numbers. However, this fee was reportedly much less that $15. Moreover, the claim that simply returning the calls can result in personal data being instantly stolen from the user's phone is nonsense. It is not possible for information to be stolen from a phone in the way described.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





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Last updated: September 7, 2012
First published: September 7, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example

Subject: IMPORTANT - missed calls
Missed +375 calls

People have been receiving calls from +375602605281, +37127913091 or any number starting with a +375, or +371 number.

One ring & and they hang up, leaving a missed call message. . If you call back it's one of those numbers that are charged $15-$30 & they can copy your contact list in 3 sec. If you have bank or credit card details on your phone, they can copy that too. +375 is from Belarus and Afghanistan.. 371 is code for Latvia...

Don't answer or call back.

Please FORWARD AND SHARE this to your friends and family.




Detailed Analysis
This message, which has circulated widely via SMS, email and social media in recent months, warns users not to call back missed calls from numbers starting with +375 and +371. According to the message, those who do call back such numbers will receive an immediate charge of $15 to $30. Moreover, claims the message, calling back one of the numbers will allow scammers to instantly copy the contact list from the caller's phone and also steal any bank or credit card information stored on the phone.

While the warning contains an element of truth, it is otherwise highly misleading and inaccurate. Reports indicate that, in recent months many people have indeed received suspect calls from numbers starting with +375 and +371. The calls typically ring once or twice and are then disconnected. 375 is the country code for Belarus. 371 is the country code for Latvia. Depending on their location, those who call the numbers back may be charged an international call fee, a portion of which may be paid to the scammers making the missed calls.

However, the claim that users who call the numbers back are automatically charged $15 to $30 appears to be unfounded. The figure of $15 may be a misinterpretation of reports that stated the calls were charged a fee of 15 Indian rupees (about 26 cents USD).

Moreover, the claim that simply calling the numbers will somehow magically allow criminals to steal contact lists and financial information from the calling phone is untrue. To steal such data, the criminals would have to hack into the phone in some way and this would obviously require much more than just calling a particular phone number.

Thus, it appears that initial speculation about the purpose of the phone calls and the motives of those responsible has fueled the spread of false and misleading information. And, at the time of writing, calling the two numbers listed in the warning results in automated "number not in service" messages. That said, people should be cautious of returning missed calls from phone numbers with those country codes unless they know the numbers or are expecting calls from those regions. Of course, while some calls with the country codes 375 or 371 may indeed be suspect as discussed above, the vast majority are likely to be perfectly normal calls from Belarus and Latvia.

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References

Did you get a call from a +375 number?
Country Codes
Beware! Do not respond to calls from +375





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Issue 139 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. PayPal 'Refund Pending' Phishing Scam
  2. Tom Kenny, Voice of SpongeBob Is NOT Dead
  3. Facebook Post Claims Dog Saved Puppies From House Fire
  4. HM Revenue & Customs Income Tax Repayment Phishing Scam
  5. Did Samsung Pay a $1 Billion Fine to Apple in 5 Cent Coins?
  6. Student Finance England 'Payment Cancelled' Phishing Scam
  7. All-In-One Shopping Voucher Malware
  8. Morgan Freeman is NOT Dead
  9. NatWest 'Account Locked' Phishing Scam
  10. 'Causes' Petition Calling To End Using Dogs As Shark Bait
  11. Young Football Player Not Allowed to Wear Pink Gloves For Breast Cancer
  12. Photo Sharing Request for 'Pray For Rosalie'
  13. Misleading Warning about Missed Calls From +375 and +371 Numbers
  14. 'Catholic Charities Organization' Money Laundering Scam
  15. Facebook Survey Scam - Free $500 Woolworths Gift Voucher
  16. 'Windows Live Update' Sector Zero Virus Hoax
  17. Killer Piranha Attack Images
  18. Circulating Image Implies Heineken Supports Dog Fighting
  19. Another Sick Baby Hoax - Like, Comment or Share to Help Baby With Large Mass on Her Back
  20. ACMA 'Security Upgrade' Phishing Scam
  21. 'Circle of Safety' - Child Stuck in Wheel Well Photograph
  22. American Express 'Security Verification' Phishing Scam