February 5, 2014

One-ring phone scam being used

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — The Better Business Bureau is warning cellphone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly statement.

Consumers in several states report receiving calls on their mobile phones in which an unknown caller hangs up after one ring.

When cell owners return the call, they are billed $19.95 for the international call fee. They may hear music or advertising while they are unknowingly connected to a caller-paid toll service or chat line located outside the country.

The Caribbean area codes that appear on the caller ID have been reported to be from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284), Grenada (473), Antigua (268), Dominica (767) and other places.

The scam is taking place in the North Country; Press-Republican Editor Lois Clermont reported getting the one-ring calls from Antigua three times in the last week.

The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called “cramming.” If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, be sure to alert your cellphone carrier immediately and keep an eye on your cellphone bill. 

The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed, the Better Business Bureau said.


A second scam to be aware of is the unknown credit-card charge. With this new con, scammers are banking on the fact that many consumers don’t check their credit-card statements all that carefully.

Don’t fall for it, the Better Business Bureau warns. Review your recent statements for unexplained charges of $9.84 and contest them with your bank or credit-card issuer (call the number on the back of your card).

If you spot a strange charge of $9.84 on your credit-card statement, the source listed on your bill will be an unfamiliar website.

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