'One Ring' cell phone scam rings up charges

Crooks latest move rings up cell phone charges

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns cellphone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly wireless statement.

BBB’s across the country are seeing a rash of reports of “ring and runs” or “The One Ring Scam” on cell phones recently where returning a missed call from an Unknown number might be tempting, but it could cost you.

Here is how it works:

Consumers in several states report receiving calls on their mobile phones in which an unknown caller hangs up after one ring. When the cell owner returns the call, they are billed $19.95 for the international call fee. They may hear music, then advertising while they are unknowingly connected to a caller-paid toll service or chat line located outside the country. At $9 per minute, these calls can add up quickly.

The Caribbean area codes that appear on the caller ID often have been reported to be from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284), Grenada (473) and Dominica (767).

The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called “cramming.” If you have fallen for this scam, be sure to alert your cell phone carrier immediately and keep an eye on you cell phone bill. The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed.

To protect yourself from unauthorized charges on your cellphone bill, BBB offers the following tips:

n When in doubt, don’t pick up or call back. If you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it.

n Understand your mobile bill. Be sure to keep track of what services you pay for, that way you will be able to determine if any charges are unauthorized.

n Keep a close eye on monthly statements. Anyone can become a victim of bill cramming. Monitoring your bill is the best way to determine whether or not you’ve been affected. The sooner you spot any unexpected charges, the sooner you can stop them.

n Add restrictions to your account. Contact your service provider to see if you can restrict third-party billing on your account.

n Inform other users on your mobile phone plan. It’s important to let other friends and family members on your cellphone plan know about this scam, and to ignore phone numbers they do not recognize.

Bottom Line If it’s Unknown, Leave it alone.

Information: Visit www.bbb.org

© 2014 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 1

naplesregular writes:

Started seeing this about 30 days ago and in my business, I frequently receive calls from all around the country as well as from Europe and Canada and call back rings that do not leave messages. Fortunately for me, I noticed the first 1-ring call came from Grenada and that felt strange so I didn't call back. Immediately googled the number and discovered the scam. Pays to be suspicious in this world!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features