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SCAM ALERT

“One-Ring” Scam

Scammers are calling from an international number that appears to originate in the U.S., causing consumers to unwittingly return the call to an international number and rack up some hefty international call fees. This is commonly called a “one-ring” scam, but is known by other names, such as the “ring-and-run” scam.

How to spot the “one-ring” scam
You receive a call, but your phone only rings once. Either because the number looks legitimate or because you can’t resist your curiosity, you call back. When you call, you hear someone say “Hello. Please hold. You are being connected to an operator,” or words to that effect. After a few minutes on hold, you hang up. Unfortunately, you have just incurred charges of $15 to $30 because of international call fees and potential service charges to the entity you called back.

The numbers are international, but appear to be from the U.S.
These scammers call from outside the U.S., but within the same country code or international calling code. The country code for the United States is “1”—that is also the code for the Caribbean Islands. When you glance at your caller ID, you may believe that the call is from within the U.S.—because the number “1” pops up first ahead of the area code—but beware—the area code is actually an international call from the Caribbean.

Sometimes, if you are able to pick up the call before the scammer hangs up, the call will be immediately dropped. A computer robocaller is making the call—and it is programmed to drop the call if you pick up. Do not call back. Unless you know the number, wait for a call back—the caller will dial again if it is important.

Suspicious area codes

The numbers below are numbers that are within the country code of “1” but are actually from an area code outside the United States that have been reported as the origin of “one-ring” scammers.

268

284

473

649

664

767

809

829

849

876

What to do if you are targeted
Do not return the call. If it was important, the caller would have left a message. Resist the urge to call back—it’s a scam. Try to search the number and area code using an online search engine to see if this number has been reported as one from which a scam originated.

How to spot if you were a victim of the “one-ring” scam
If you received a one-ring call and called back, how do you know if you were charged? Call your telecommunications carrier immediately and check. If not readily apparent yet, wait for your bill to be available and scrutinize it carefully. Look for terms such as “service fee,” “calling plan,” “special services,” or “internet advertising.” These are often associated with charges of $5 to $30. If you see these charges on your bill, call your telecommunications carrier to inquire about their origin. Dispute these charges if you think you were a victim of this scam.

How to report the “one-ring” scam
If you are a victim of or were targeted by the “one-ring” scam, you should alert your local police department, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office right away. You should also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. Find contact information below.

 

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

10 Park Plaza, Suite 5170

Boston, MA 02108

617-973-8787

888-283-3757 (toll-free in MA)

http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/utility/contact-us-by-e-mail.html

Office of the Attorney General

Public Inquiry and Assistance Center

One Ashburton Place, 18th Floor

Boston, MA 02108

617-727-2200 (voice)

617-727-4765 (TTY)

www.mass.gov/ago/complaint

Federal Trade Commission

CRC-240

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20580

877-382-4357 (voice)

866-653-4261 (TTY)

www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Federal Communications Commission

Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau

Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554

888-225-5322 (voice)

888-835-5322 (TTY)

www.fcc.gov/complaints

 

 

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