I am not sure this is the right community, but my problem originated with me travelling abroad.

I've travelled to Germany about a month ago (and I am still staying there). About two weeks later I''ve been informed by two people from my home country that they have missed calls from some unknown cell numbers in Germany (numbers are starting from +49). I've never disclosed their numbers to anyone, but those are the people I call quite frequently (my gf and my father).

What could be the cause? I think they are getting scammed, but how could attacker get hold of their cell numbers?

EDIT: some more information:

  • I've been to France in July and nothing similar happened
  • Those missed calls do not coincide in time with me calling my contacts
  • I am using an Android phone and I have scanned it with an antivirus - it did not find anything
  • the only German application I have installed during my stay abroad was an official public transportation app
  • I don't see any suspicious calls in my call history
  • I am using my home network SIM card for roaming
  • As far as I can tell those are mobile numbers

  • This may be important: I have tried searching for the numbers and did not find any reports about those exact numbers. BUT all of them start with the same digits: +49176, followed by eight other digits, different in case of each call. I have found one source that says this is a prefix used by German o2 network (which, curiously, is the network I use here for roaming). I have found a number of reports from people who received unwanted calls from numbers in this format - some people identify source as German, other say that the number only looks like German but originates from elsewhere. Nevertheless, I find it a strange coincidence that the people I know have started receiving those calls - from numbers which start with German country code - after I arrived in Germany.

  • 1
    What kind of phone do you have? Did you download any German apps that may not be 100% reliable? Can you check your call history for any calls you wouldn’t have made? – jcaron Sep 23 '18 at 9:38
  • @jcaron I don't see anything suspicious with my call history. The only German app I've downloaded was an official public transportation app. Being afraid that my Android phone might have gotten compromised I've also scanned it, and antivirus found nothing. – lukeg Sep 23 '18 at 9:52
  • Are you roaming using your home network’s SIM or using a local SIM? Have you tried looking up the numbers to see if there are other reports? What kind of number is it? Local (related to where you are?), mobile, special? – jcaron Sep 23 '18 at 9:56
  • @jcaron Please see my updated question. – lukeg Sep 23 '18 at 10:30
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    In my experience there is a decent chance that a poorly-privacy-oriented application sent your number to some outbound call centres who bulk call individuals for selling them pay tv packages or electricity contracts. Frustrating, indeed....... I also don't believe in Android antiviruses – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Sep 23 '18 at 13:48

I can't tell you the reason, but I can tell a few things to do:

  1. You may answer a call if you are interested, but be aware of a scam.
  2. Never call the number back. It may be a scam, in the best case scenario, you will pay a premium for the international call.
  3. Do not worry. If there is any important information it would be delivered by mail or at least by email.

These 3 simple things work with any international numbers calling you.


I got the exact same problem. My girlfriend is getting missed calls from many unknown German numbers (+49). I am still in Germany and tried to call some of them. Most of them don't respond or are invalid, while some of them say they are unaware of any such thing.

So I believe, it is done by some of the apps that I have found online like http://www.crazycall.net/ https://www.spoofcard.com/free-spoof-caller-id https://bluffmycall.com/ where you can change your number and select the country of origin. However I am not sure. The worst thing is as soon as you pick up, your balance is deducted.

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