Better Business Bureau warns cell phone users against 'one-ring scam'

The Better Business Bureau is advising cell phone users to not pick up some of those calls.
January 31, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
It happens all the time. You get a call on your cell phone from a number you don't recognize. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising cell phone users not to pick up some of those calls.

It's called the "One-Ring Scam." Those behind it don't care if you're on the "Do Not Call List," which is why the Better Business Bureau is warning you not to let your curiosity get the best of you. The BBB is advising if you don't know the number calling you, don't answer the call.

Thieves are finding new ways to target our phones and gain access to money by using a new cramming scam to charge for services overseas.

Action News intern Bianca Maglalang remembers getting one of those calls from a mysterious number with a strange area code.

"I was like hello? Hello? And I hung up right away," Maglalang said. "When I looked at my phone it said Dominica and I was like where is this coming from? So I was just a little confused by it."

Maglalang said she was confused because she did not know anyone in the Caribbean or how they got her number.

"I was like that's a long distance call so I'm not going to call back at all," Maglalang said.

As the scam makes its way across the country some don't realize the numbers are from outside the United States.

"And these are coming out of the Caribbean, coming out of Grenada, coming out of the Dominican Republic, coming out of the British Virgin Islands," Central California Better Business Bureau CEO Blair Looney said.

Looney said people are getting billed an exorbitant amount of money when they call back. That is because the scammers are robo-calling cellphones at random.

When you answer no one is there, but if you're curious and call back, you could be charged as much as $20 for an international call, $9 for each additional minute you hang on the line, sometimes even more.

"You can be automatically enrolled in a club, an automatic payment program into a subscription of some kind, and then you're getting charged with listening to the sales pitch," Looney said.

The BBB is warning everyone to resist the urge to call back so you don't waste your money.

"What they're trying to do is make contacts to thousands of people and if they reach a small percentage of them at $20 apiece, the money can add up very quickly," Looney said.


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