Press release

Hiya Finds “One Ring” Scam Back on the Rise, over 2,500% Increase in Calls from Sierra Leone

Sponsored by Businesswire

the industry leader in nuisance and scam call protection, along
with the FCC
, is warning consumers not to fall victim to the latest
phone scam, the Wangiri – or “one ring” – scam, which is rapidly back on
the rise in the U.S. For years, the Wangiri scam, Japanese for “one ring
and drop” has been preying on unknowing mobile victims, enticing them to
call back international numbers for which they’re ultimately charged
premium rates. The scam originally appeared in the U.S. in 2013, but in
the years to follow, hit a lull with Americans as it expanded
internationally to countries including Ireland, Scotland, and Germany.
Since the beginning of the year, it’s made a recent comeback to the
U.S., increasing 98% in the first quarter (as compared to Q4 2019), and
more recently seen a massive spike in calls originating from West
Africa’s Sierra Leone – a 2,527% increase in one day, from May 2nd to
May 3rd.

Originating from the West African Atlantic Coast, seconds before a
victim can pick up the call, the culprit hangs up, hoping the recipient
of the call returns it out of curiosity. In some instances, scammers
will leave a message urging the victim to call a number to either
receive a so-called raffle prize, or find out about a sick relative. If
the victim calls back, they are connected to an international hotline
charging a connection fee, along with substantial per-minute fees.
Unfortunately, the victim doesn’t realize they’ve been scammed, until
they see the premium services on their monthly phone bill.

“Scammers are increasingly sophisticated in the methods they use to
defraud consumers. They’re not only coming up with new scams, but also
resurrecting those that worked in the past,” said Alex Algard, Hiya
founder and CEO. “By letting the one ring scam die down for a few years
while they targeted victims in other countries, these criminals hope
that Americans forgot their tactics, which is why it’s so important to
stay informed on common scams.”

Based on data Hiya analyzes from more than 13 billion calls globally per
month,the company has identified the top area codes being targeted by
the one ring scam originating from Sierra Leone:

  1. Tulsa, Oklahoma (918)
  2. Southeastern Louisiana (985)
  3. Northeast Texas (903)
  4. Westchester County, New York (914)
  5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (954)
  6. Memphis, Tennessee (901)
  7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana (225)
  8. Worcester, Massachusetts (508)
  9. Roanoke, Virginia (540)
  10. Dallas, Texas (972)

About Hiya

Hiya is revolutionizing the way people make and receive phone calls.
With a mission to provide a better phone experience, Hiya Caller and
Business Profiles provide users with important context, giving them the
right information at the right time. Through analysis of more than 13
billion calls per month, Hiya protects over 70 million users from
unwanted robo and spam calls globally. Hiya is available as a consumer
app on Google Android and iPhone and is integrated into the phone
experience for AT&T Call Protect, T-Mobile Name ID, ZTE Axon 7 and
Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S9, and all A-Series
and J-Series users worldwide. For more information, please visit