Reports from consumers receiving unexpected and missed calls from unknown foreign numbers are becoming quite common around the world. Consumers calling back on these numbers frequently report that they are kept on the line and afterwards discover that they were being charged for higher international rate services.
Several users in Malta are reporting on various social media channels that they received alleged scam calls. This has prompted the Malta Police Force to issue warnings advising the general public to act cautiously.
Telephone operators have no means to determine whether a call is genuine or malicious. Consumers face no added costs when receiving and answering scam calls (unless they do so whilst roaming outside of an EU or an EEA country - i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). However, it can be quite costly if a person who received such a call returns the call by redialling the international number.
Consumers are advised not to return calls to unknown international numbers or at the very least should check what charges apply before returning such calls. Service providers regularly update international tariff information on their websites and consumers are advised that they can consult with their telephone operator for information about applicable charges.
Consumers who fall victim to these practices should immediately contact their telephone operator to see what remedies could be available to them. In line with the advice issued by the Malta Police Force, consumers should under no circumstances disclose financial, personal or confidential information over the phone.