Are you getting incessant phone calls from a foreign country? You better think twice before picking up – or calling back.

If it’s a number you don’t know from a country that you’re not expecting a call from, do not pick up the phone. It’s scam and it will end up costing you money.

The “wangiri scam” has be named so because the Japanese word loosely translates to “one ring and cut”.

The caller leaves missed calls on your phone in the hopes you will call back. If you do, you’ll be unwittingly hit with a hefty bill.

This type of scam is becoming increasingly widespread with Aussies reporting phones call from countries like Cuba, Africa, and Latvia.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s deputy chair, Delia Rickard, advises ignoring calls from country codes you don’t recognise.

“What typically happens is the scammer calls for just one ring then cuts the line leaving a missed call on the victim’s phone,” she told ABC.

“Then the victim calls the number back and they could be put on hold, have music playing or they could try and chat.”

The objective is to keep you on the phone as the line you’re calling is a premium line similar to those used by psychic hotlines or sex lines – it’s very difficult for telcos to prevent.

According to the ACCC’s ScamWatch, Australians have lost more than $48,000 to premium service scam calls in the past year.

Article created in partnership with Over60