Scam alert: The next time you see a missed call on your mobile phone or landline from a number you don’t recognize, don’t call back.
The one ring phone fraud is back, and if you fall for it, you could find yourself charged a bundle, perhaps as much as $30.
The call looks like it comes from your local or regional area code, but it doesn’t.
It’s called “cramming,” when third-party scammers sneak bogus charges onto legitimate phone bills, and according to Slate magazine, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission say it’s on the rise.
Here’s how it works:
Scammers based overseas use auto-dialing computer programs to call phones all over the country and hang up after one ring, which is just enough to cause a missed call message to register on your phone.
If you call back, you are connected to a paid-per-call “adult entertainment service” located overseas, and you could be charged as much as $19.95 for the connection, plus $9 or more per minute for the unwanted “service”. Other scammers charge just a few bucks in the hopes you won’t notice it on your monthly bill.
It’s easy to make a mistake with an area code, since there are so many and it’s tough to keep track of all the new ones and remember where they are.
But if you get a call from any of these area codes, ignore it, unless there is a caller ID and you actually know the person calling:
Avoid these one-ring callers
- 222 – Mauritius
- 268 – Antigua
- 284 – British Virgin Islands
- 473 – Grenada
- 809 – Dominican Republic
- 876 – Jamaica
If you’re really tempted to call back that number, don’t do it until you check one of the online reverse directories.
Sites like whocalled.us also track complaints and questions about calls from specific numbers.
And you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, too.
Check your monthly statements
Another scam is called “cramming,” when third-party scammers sneak bogus charges onto legitimate phone bills, and according to Slate magazine, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission say it’s on the rise.
Always check your monthly bill for fraudulent charges – and not just mobile phone bill.
Also check your credit card bill. I recently found an errant 43 cent charge on one of my credit cards. 43 cents! The scammers hope you won’t notice, or won’t bother to report it. I did, and so should you..