Sue A. McConnell
For Immediate Release - January 30, 2014 - Reports from Cleveland and around the country show an increasing number of what is known as the "One Ring" scam because the perpetrators program their computers to blast out thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect.
If you think you missed a call and call back, you will reportedly connect to a paid international adult entertainment service, 'chat' line, or other premium service located outside the country.
Victims who return the call are billed a $19.95 international call fee, along with per minute charges for the unwanted "premium service," which can be $9 per minute or more. In some cases, the scammers may only put through a small charge of several dollars, so it won't arouse suspicion.
Calls typically originate from outside the U.S. A Cleveland woman who reported the scam told BBB her caller ID indicated the call originated in Antigua or Barbuda (268). Other consumers across the country report calls from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473).
The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called "cramming." The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow.
Better Business Bureau recommends if you don't recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it and if you do answer, do not call back. Also you should check your cell phone bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any unauthorized charges. The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed.