Beware of returning unrecognised missed mobile phone calls: industry warning

Mobile phone users should be careful returning missed calls when they don’t recognise the numbers, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) says in a new guide to help protect mobile users from unwanted and potentially costly messages.

AMTA CEO Chris Althaus said the recent so-called “missed call” scheme, which had raised public concerns, highlighted the need for mobile phone users to be wary about calling back numbers they did not recognise.

He said the industry’s guide was designed to raise awareness of potentially unwanted and costly schemes, spam and scam voice and text messages.

Mr Althaus said: “Prevention is the key in guarding against unwanted SMS or MMS messages and voice calls. The industry’s tips let people know where they can go for further information if they think they have been spammed or scammed.

“People should be very careful if they are responding to unsolicited voice calls or text messages. They may be charged for future text messages that they receive as well as messages they send.”

Mr Althaus said the so-called “missed call” scheme is being considered by authorities to determine whether it raises any concerns under existing Federal and State laws. The scheme involves companies dialling random numbers, generating large numbers of calls and terminating them prior to connection. Customers do not have time to answer the call on their mobile phones.

Customers who do call back the “missed” call number (in most cases at a local call charge) hear a recorded message that directs them to call a premium 190x number to collect free mobile content and a chance to win a prize. It can take some time connected to the premium number to claim the prize and may involve further steps, such as sending an SMS to another 19 number.

Mr Althaus said: “It is important for people to check the cost before dialling a premium voice number (190x) or a premium text (19x) number. They are both premium rate services and people will be charged at a higher rate.

“The industry’s strong advice on these sorts of schemes is to be very wary of missed calls unless they are from numbers that customers recognise.

“If you receive an offer that is too good to be true – it probably is. Be wary of ‘free’ offers. Are they free or are you paying for them elsewhere?”

For AMTA’s guide to help you protect your mobile phone from spam and scam see Consumer Tips at


For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240550