"For a few days new we have been receiving an increased number of complaints about harassing 'ping calls'. The phone number shown on displays starts with +88241. The phone rings once; then the connection is deliberately disconnected. The purpose of these calls is to make people return the calls – out of curiosity or politeness. The most effective protection: Don't return the calls since this might prove very expensive", Mr Gungl, CEO of RTR's Telecommunication and Postal Services Division, warns.
A call to a phone number starting with +88241 initiates a connection to a satellite phone. For this reason, the fees charged are very high. "If despite this somebody wants to call an unknown or suspicious number, we recommend to ask the operator in advance what the costs for the call will be", Mr Gungl said. "A further recommendation: There are numerous apps for Android devices allowing for the blocking of individual phone numbers; Apple devices offer this possibility directly in their operating system", Mr Gungl adds.
Callers' phone numbers displayed on phones are not necessarily correct. "In such cases, it is impossible to determine who the caller was, not only for the persons called but also for authorities. This is similar to physical mail; the sender's address may be wrong, too", Mr Gungl explains. Information on falsified phone numbers are available on RTR's website at https://www.rtr.at/en/tk/FAQN178