Lately, all across America innocent people are being scammed by a new trend called “one ring scams’. Your Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado wants you to be aware of this new con while also providing you with valuable tips on how to protect yourself.
“One ring scams” happen when swindlers buy or steal lists of US-based cell phone numbers and input the numbers into a computer that engages in mass dialing. Suddenly, your cell phone will ring quickly, probably just once, long enough to generate a missed call on your phone’s screen. These crooks then cross their fingers that you are curious enough to call the number back to see who it was (You can’t be blamed for calling back. what if it is an emergency - right?),
and if you do call back, the scammers charge your phone bill like a 900 number would such as $20 for the call, and an additional charge of (around)
$9 dollars for every minute you spend on the line with them. At the minimum you could be charged almost $30 for just calling a number only to learn it is of no interest or use for you. Not good.
This is a very effective scam as it doesn’t really raise an immediate red flag, until you get your phone bill that is. Victims have told several BBBs across the country that the calls appear to come from Caribbean nations including Grenada, Antigua, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica or the British Virgin Islands. Area codes for the calls include 268, 274, 473, 809 and 876. However, some calls may be domestically based too.
Your BBB of Southern Colorado wants to arm you with these tips to avoid one-ring scams:
- When in doubt, don’t pick up or call back – GOOGLE It. If you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it. Once the caller hangs up, you can always put the number into a Google search to see if it is actually someone you need to call back.
- Write it down! We advise you to write down the phone number and notify your cell phone carriers immediately if you believe you have been victims of the scam. By documenting the fraud, you may have a better chance of getting the charges removed.
- Keep a close eye on your monthly statements. Anyone can become a victim of bill cramming AKA one-ring phone scams. Closely monitoring your bill is the best way to determine whether or not you’ve been a victim. The sooner you spot any unusual charges, the sooner you can call your carrier and have them removed from the billing cycle.
- Add restrictions to your account. Contact your service provider to see if you can restrict third-party billing on your account. This is a sure way of protecting yourself.
- Inform, Inform, Inform. It’s important to let friends and family members know if you are scammed. Use Facebook, Twitter, and mass emails (only to people you know) to let people know this happened and that you don’t want anyone you know to have it happen to them.
- Call US! If you are a victim, call your BBB so we can also help spread the word. The more that is known about crooks and their scams, the less likely it is they will repeat their crimes in our backyard. (719) 636-1155