cellphone scam can ding your wallet
Colleen Tressler, consumer education specialist with the Federal
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[February 26, 2014]
WASHINGTON — Who's calling now?
That number doesn't ring a bell. Hold the phone, says the Federal
Trade Commission. You could be a potential victim of the growing
"one-ring" cellphone scam.
Here's how it works: Scammers are using auto-dialers to call
cellphone numbers across the country. Scammers let the phone ring
once — just enough for a missed-call message to pop up.
scammers hope you'll call back, either because you believe a
legitimate call was cut off, or you will be curious about who
called. If you do, chances are you'll hear something like, "Hello.
You've reached the operator, please hold." All the while, you're
getting slammed with some hefty charges — a per-minute charge on top
of an international rate.
The calls are from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that
look like they're from inside the U.S. but actually are associated
with international phone numbers — often in the Caribbean. The area
codes include 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.
If you get a call like this, don't pick it up and don't call the
number back. There's no danger in getting the call; the danger is in
calling back and racking up a whopping bill.
If you're tempted to call back, do yourself a favor and check
the number through online directories first. They can tell you
where the phone number is registered.
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If you've been a victim of the "one-ring" scam, try to resolve
the charges with your cellphone carrier. If that doesn't work, file
a complaint with the
Federal Trade Commission and the
And as a general rule: Read your phone bill often — line by line.
If you don't recognize or understand a charge, contact your carrier.
I've got to go now; my cellphone is ringing.
[By COLLEEN TRESSLER,