One-Ring Scams

The FCC details a common phone scam strategy, the one-ring scam.

One-ring calls may appear to be from phone numbers somewhere in the United States, including three initial digits that resemble U.S. area codes. But savvy scammers often use international numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes – for example, “649” goes to the Turks and Caicos and “809” goes to the Dominican Republic.

If you call any such number, you risk being connected to a phone number outside the U.S. As a result, you may wind up being charged a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees for as long as they can keep you on the phone. These charges may show up on your bill as premium services.

The current administration is fine with this being the best you hear about one-ring scams. In fact, I’m surprised the FCC (which still has many people who do good work, and want to help people, but have been hampered from doing so) has released this much information on the scam and how to avoid it.

Long story short – in this age of VOIP services and cell phones, if you don’t recognize a number, don’t answer it. If they don’t leave a voicemail, don’t call them back. If you do, you may want to disable international calling on your service.

As long as phone service providers make money, they have little incentive stop these scams without government intervention and regulation.