There’s a dangerous phone scam out there and Police are warning everyone. It could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you fall for it. It’s called the One-Ring Phone Scam.
Phone scams have been around forever and the One-Ring is just the latest variation on a decades-old problem.
One-Ring scam’s goal is to trick people into making expensive international calls without even knowing it. Then the scammers automatically connect the caller to an expensive pay-per-minute line. They also try to manipulate the callers into giving up important information like credit card details.
This scam has been around for years, but scammers are getting more sophisticated.
You can identify numbers that might be dangerous by remembering key area codes.
The Caroline County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia recently published this important warning to their Facebook page about the One-Ring scam.
They summarize the scam explaining that scammers work by calling victims with a phone number that looks like an ordinary domestic number.
These numbers are actually carefully chosen foreign numbers that just look like domestic numbers.
Caroline County links to a special fact sheet prepared by the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC explains the scam carefully, noting:
“Some wireless consumers receive calls from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that appear to be domestic, but are actually associated with international pay-per-call phone numbers. These calls often disconnect after one ring, not giving the consumer time to answer the call and tempting them to return the call. If you receive a call like this and do not recognize the number of the incoming call, do not return the call.”
Most all of these calls come from international numbers in the Caribbean or in Canada, and some even may come from Eastern Europe. These international phone numbers are selected because they look a lot like ordinary U.S. phone numbers, and you may be tricked into returning a missed call.
Currently the most popular area code for scammers seems to be 268, for the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
Still, scammers change tactics all the time, so stay alert!
Other area codes to watch out for are 809, 876, 284, and 473. zzzzzthe FCC says that you should simply avoid returning calls from any unfamiliar area code.
The calls themselves are also distinctive in that the call comes in, your phone rings once or twice and they hang up.
These numbers might call repeatedly and leave automatic robo-voicemails on your phone.
Their goal is to trick you into calling the number back. Often times, people call back because they’re curious, or think they missed an important call.
The minute you call back, the scam starts. You’ll be connected to an expensive pay-per-minute or pay-per-call phone line, which will immediately start billing you.
Even if you don’t connect with a pay-per-call service, you’lll be charged for making an expensive international call.
You may even connect with an actual person or with a robotic voice that will try to convince you to sign up for expensive monthly clubs or services. This is a ploy to get your address and credit card information.
If this has happened to you, contact the FCC to file a complaint and your phone company as well.
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