A city resident was surprised when she got a missed call from an unknown number starting with the code +92. When she called back, a man who spoke Hindi picked up and told her she had won a lottery of Rs.10 lakh and had to call another number to get the money. Suspecting a scam, she cut the call immediately, but later received many calls from unknown numbers starting with +92 – the country code of Pakistan.

Police said they had received several cases where people were cheated after receiving emails saying they had won online lotteries. The ‘missed call’ scam is the latest of cyber rip-off methods being used by scamsters. Many mobile phone users who call back after getting missed calls from unknown overseas numbers are asked to call a second number. Then, they are asked for their bank account and credit card details. Most people get suspicious at this point and cut the call. However, there are many others who fall into the trap.

An official of a mobile service provider said their company had received such complaints and had forwarded them to the Hi-Tech Crime Enquiry Cell.

“These missed calls can be from Pakistan, Nigeria, London, or any other place. We haven’t received any written complaints about these scams. But I have heard from many people who got such calls,” said a police officer of the Hi-Tech cell. The police have advised the public against falling into scams that promise money or ask for sensitive information.

‘Difficult to track’

“Such cases are difficult to track as the scammers are often abroad. Once you lose the money, there is very little we can do,” said a police officer.

The officer confessed he was also a victim of a ‘missed call’ scam. In his case, the number connected to a telephonic porn service which charged high rates for the call. “I cut the call immediately but was charged about Rs.60 for a few seconds,” he said.

The scammers make money as they receive a percentage of the call charge.

More In: Kochi