Silent calls from Tunisia: how to defend yourself from phone scam

Have you received calls from a Tunisian number? Here's why you need to start worrying, what are the dangers and how to defend yourself

We've already talked about it a couple of times, but in the last few days we've received some new reports, a sign that the scam activity has started again. What are we talking about? Of the phone calls coming from a Tunisian prefix (+216): a single ring and then they hang up. For what reason? Their goal is that the user calls them back: it takes only a few seconds to empty the account of the SIM card, or to activate the weekly paid subscriptions.

This is a phone scam that has been going on for several years now, but no one has been able to stop it. Every time the number with Tunisian prefix (but also Kosovan or Moldovan) changes, so that before it is blocked some time passes. The victims are dozens and dozens, who see their SIM card account emptied even by making a single call that lasts only a few seconds. Is there any way to defend yourself against this kind of scam? Certainly, do not call for any reason numbers that you do not know with the Tunisian prefix (+216).

Mute calls from Tunisia: what are they

To avoid any misunderstanding, we say right away that these are phone scams. If you have found a missed call with a Tunisian area code (+216) on your smartphone, we tell you right now that it is a trap. Until a while ago, malicious people used these two phone numbers to carry out their scams: +216 28 915 036 or +216 28 914 685. But now they have been blocked so the scammers have been forced to change them.

How does this type of scam work? Very simple. In jargon it is called Wangiri and it uses the ping call technique to steal money from users. Step 1 of the scam is to call a phone number (landline or mobile is irrelevant) and make a single ring. In this way, the person will find a missed call on their smartphone and not knowing the number will try to call back. And here starts phase 2 of the scam: at the first ring you will hear an answering machine with strange sounds and just a few seconds to find the account of the SIM card emptied. Some users have also reported the activation of paid subscriptions worth 5-7 euros per week.

Calls from Tunisia: the dangers

Receiving calls from a Tunisian number is not dangerous in itself. It becomes so when we try to call them back. As we just mentioned, it only takes a few seconds to see your SIM phone account drained. In some cases the cost of the call was even 1.50 euros per second. A very high cost.

It could also happen, that together with the cost of the call, is activated on the user's card a monthly subscription costing at least 5 euros per month. In addition to the damage of having the SIM card account emptied, there is also the mockery of having to pay for an unwanted monthly subscription.

Mute calls from Tunisia: how to protect yourself

Protecting yourself from this type of scam is not easy. The telephone operators, unfortunately, don't have many weapons to block in the bud this type of calls. A correct modus operandi, would be to immediately report to the police the number that called you in order to trigger an investigation and block the card.

To try to curb the problem, you can use a function present on both Android and iOS smartphones: the number blocker. Very useful for nipping incoming calls from call centers in the bud, it can also be used for Tunisian numbers. Alternatively, you can install on your smartphone an application such as TrueCaller, which nips in the bud any incoming calls from call centers and "dangerous" phone numbers.

As for paid subscriptions, we recommend that you call the service center of your operator and ask for the activation of barring, a system that protects you from this type of scams. Finally, we would like to remind you that in some cases scammers use numbers with Tunisian dialing code as well as Moldovan (+373) and Kosovo (+383) dialing codes.