If you’re among the millions of people in the United States and the rest of the world who own a cell phone, then chances are you get several dozen calls a day on it.
What of the latest phone call?
Does it look unfamiliar?
If so, the Federal Trade Commission is telling you to be very careful, because you could potentially be the victim of a growing “one call” scam that con artists are using to potentially suck you into hefty phone charges.
Here’s the deal: these scammers are counting on you to be curious about the number and call it back, after which you will hear something to the effect of, “this is the operator, please hold.”
Unfortunately for you, there is no such operator; instead, it is a spambot and you are getting slammed for some outrageous long-distance cell phone charges.
What makes this scam even more insidious is that the 3-digit area codes on the numbers appear to be from the U.S., but they are often associated with the Caribbean.
If you get a call from one of these numbers, don’t answer and don’t call back.
It’s not so much getting the phone call that is the problem; it’s calling the number back and receiving a massive bill.
If you are tempted to call back, whatever you do, DON’T DO IT.
Instead, refer to an online directory and see where the number is registered, and that way you can tell if it is a local number or not.
If you have been victimized by this “one-ring” scam, you can either attempt to resolve the charges with your cell phone company or go over their head and contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission.
Finally, make sure to read every line of your phone bill and ask questions about any dubious charges.
Be aware that these scammers will often have three types of phone calls: in some cases, they will call and hang up before anyone answers; sometimes, they will call and pretend someone is in danger with a pre-recorded message; finally, there are other times where they will do it with fake text messages, too!
Whatever method they might use, it is important to share this information with all your family and friends so we can stop this scam from continuing.