The Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly wireless statement.
According to the agency, consumers across the country report getting calls on their mobile phones during which the caller hangs up. This is being called the “One Ring” scam because the perpetrators program their computers to blast out thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect. “The objective is to make you curious about a call you missed and return it right away. When you call back the umber missed, you are connected to a paid international adult entertainment service or ‘chat’ line located outside the country,” stated BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty.
Victims are subsequently billed not only for the incoming international call if they answer, but also the unwanted “premium service,” which typically appears as a $19.95 charge. In some cases, the scammers may only put a small charge of several dollars, so as not to arouse suspicion.
The area codes that appear on the caller ID often originate from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473).
The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called “cramming.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow.
Better Business Bureau recommends if you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it and if you do answer, do not call back. Check your wireless bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any unauthorized charges.