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International calls from +231 / +341 and the scam behind it


Have you received a call or a missed call from an international number? And when you called back, you realized later that you have been charged a bomb for calling those paid numbers? If Yes, you are not alone who has fallen for this new age scam.

For ages, there have been always a section of people who make a living by tricking other people and getting away with it. Nowadays, scammers have found new ways to make money. This post tries to save you from one such scam being operated from some countries such as Liberia, Algeria, etc. These numbers will generally start from +231 / +341 and even +92 (Pakistan).

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How does the +231 Premium CallBack scam work?

For anyone who hasn’t received such a call, this is how the scam rolls out. You get a missed call from an unknown number. This missed call starts with the international code +231 which is of Liberia and generally comes in at odd hours like late night or middle of the day i.e. a time when most like you will notice the call. Now when you check your phone and see the missed call notification, out of sheer habit you may just call back to understand who had called. And that’s exactly what the scammers want.

These calls mostly come in at odd times to make you feel you truly missed an important call. When actually these calls never last for more than 2 rings! When you call back these numbers, they will connect you with a premium hotline number, which will call you somewhere around Rs. 45-90 per minute. When you call in, there may be a voice saying something like – “Hello, you have reached the operator. Please hold.” or something else to make you wait longer. This way you end up paying a lot more for every second you hang out. By the time you disconnect you will realize either you are out of precious mobile balance or there is a bump in your monthly bill.
Some of the numbers these calls originate from are:

+231xxxx
+341xxxx
+375xxxx

This list may not cover all numbers as these keep changing but essentially they are all with the same ISD code. If you have received one such call from a different number, do let us know through comments so that we can add it here.

So what should you do?

First this first - never call back on these numbers.

But the bigger problem here is that there are scammers who keep calling from different numbers to trick you in different ways. Now how can you make sure that you already find out that the call in not genuine and save hard-earned money?

Firstly, when you get a missed call from any unknown number – do not immediately call back.
Similarly if you get a call from an unknown number who is offering you any kind of deal and congratulating you for being lucky – do not believe them.
Once you get the missed call or you are done talking with the suspicious person, check if someone has reported the same as scam. These people use the same tricks on a lot of people and quite of few of them are reported online. To find out, there are two ways:

Check it on TrueCaller's spam check

Good old google. Simply google the number or the scheme. In your search string, add the word 'Scam'.

The other way is installing TrueCaller. TrueCaller is an app where you can mark any number as scam adding it to a global database and others will find the same. So you can simply search for the number and find details like the potential name, location of the call and if it has been flagged by others.

It is better to spend some time understanding whether the call was genuine or not instead of rushing to call back the number and to ask - 'Hi, who is this?' and loosing a big money. Stay cautious and do not fall for any too-good-to-be-true offers. Definitely do not call back to that missed call number.

In case you have already fallen for this scam - please share your experience here so that our readers can know more about it.