If you receive a call or text message on your cell phone from an unfamiliar area code, proceed with caution!
Inc.com reports that the “one ring scam” Clark.com has told you about over the years has resurfaced once again — and it’s coming after your money.
Warning: This old phone scam is back
According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers are using auto-dialers to call cell phone numbers across the country, letting the phone ring just one time before disconnecting.
Inc.com reports that there are actually three versions of this scam now:
- Scammer calls and hangs up before anyone answers
- Scammer waits for the victim to answer and plays a pre-recorded message of someone in an emergency situation and then hangs up
- Scammer sends a text message indicating that they are in trouble
Consumers face no danger by receiving the message, but calling or texting back can be quite costly.
Although the area codes may look domestic, they’re international calls to premium phone numbers, which are like 900 numbers. Victims have been hit with an international call fee, plus an expensive per-minute charge.
Sometimes the scammers will reportedly play hold music or ads in an attempt to keep victims on the line.
According to the FTC, some of the area codes that have possibly been linked to the one ring scam include: 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.
Inc.com has an extended list of area codes, including many in the Caribbean, on its website.
Bottom line: If you receive an unexpected call or text from an area code you don’t recognize, don’t answer it. Do a Google search to see where the number is registered. If it’s someone you know, they’ll call back.
Always be sure to review your cell phone bill carefully and contact your carrier about any suspicious charges.