Ping Calls are Criminal Actions

When the postman rings twice... No, your cell phone only rang once and nobody is in the line or even worse can happen when this return call leads to a toll number. What the heck to with that? LG2G will show how to best react to such ping calls. Continue reading to find out how the OLG Oldenburg decided on August 20, 2010 (re 1 Ws 371/10) and get some practical tricks for protecting yourself.


Fantasy and criminal energy know no limits when it comes to pulling out money from those who are unsuspecting. The suspects obtained several pay 0137-numbers in 2006 and started pinging hundred thousands of persons around Christmas 2006. Since their phone showed that they missed a call from a certain number, curious people started returning the call. And now tell me, who isn't curious? The return call went to an expensive tape message "Your call has been counted". Since the forwarded number had the country code for Germany (+49) at beginning and due to the omitting of "0", some 786,850 persons called this premium number. This call costs € 0.98 - at the very least.

The lower courts denying an act of deception and therefore any criminal activity did not sentence these fantasists. However, OLG Oldenburg cashiered that judgment upon appeal by the prosecuting authority (Staatsanwaltschaft) based on their differing position to the following conclusions:

  • following the realistic opinion of the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg, a call hints the wish to communicate with the person being called.
  • Those relying on a real interest in communication, who return the call are therefore betrayed.
  • The purpose of the accused was to obtain an illegal economical advantage.

Since the (Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) turned off the defendant's number, they did not received any money, therefore, they could only be sentenced for attempted fraud.


It was explicitly declared in the above decision, which criticized a similar case of a refused complaint from the prosecuting authority (re 2 Zs 1607/09), as well as the opinion given therein, that a single call does not constitute a true attempt at communication which was voided.


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