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BBB: Beware of New Phone Scams


A “one ring” phone scam is being reported across the United States. The Better Business Bureau is alerting the public to this simple—yet extremely effective—ploy that can result in unauthorized charges on wireless statements.

Here’s how it works: automated dialers blast thousands of random calls to mobile numbers obtained from public listings or from black market dealers —who hustle “sucker lists”— the call disconnects after one ring.

Return calls often are directed to international hotlines that can charge upwards of 20 dollars to connect, plus additional charges per minute. Such charges typically appear on month-end statements as “premium services”.

Danielle Rudd at the BBB’s Pensacola office says the calls come from various area codes that mirror those in the U-S -- many of which are in the Caribbean.

“Some of the area codes that we’re seeing are from 809, the Dominican Republic; 876, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands 284, or 473 Granada,” said Rudd.

Other area codes that are popping up on these scams include: 268, 284, 664, 649, 767, 829, and 849. The Federal Trade Commission calls the illegal process of sneaking unapproved charges onto phone bills “cramming” -- and is one of the most prevalent consumer grievances in America.

“So far, we’ve heard that carriers are working with consumers typically as soon as the consumer may realize that they’ve received one of these calls and they’ve either returned the phone call or picked up, to get these charges removed,” Rudd said.

There are ways for consumers to protect themselves and their wireless bills. Danielle Rudd at the Better Business Bureau says first, don’t respond to an unfamiliar telephone number. Other tips: check wireless statements and immediately report any discrepancies, and add your phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry and report violations.

More information is available at bbb.org.