One ring phone scams on the rise

Scammers don’t want you to answer these phone calls. They want you to call back

"News reports have indicated widespread overnight calling in New York State and Arizona", the FCC release says.

Scammers also can trick people into answering their phones with a technique known as neighborhood spoofing, in which they manipulate caller ID information to mask their real phone number and appear to have been placed locally.

It is called the "One Ring" or "Wangiri" scam, which targets specific area codes in bursts.

Anecdotally, many people have started reporting this scam as seeming to originate from Sierra Leone, given the frequency of calls that include Sierra Leone's 232 country code in their number. If you decide to call back the number, you'll be charged a considerable amount of money that will be deposited in the caller's account, much like dialing a 900 number. "They may call repeatedly, hoping the consumer calls back and runs up a toll that is largely paid to the scammer".

"Generally, the One Ring scam takes place when a robocaller calls a number and hangs up after a ring or two", the FCC says in a recent consumer advisory. If you must call back, check first to see if the area code is worldwide.

In addition to not returning the phone call, officials encouraged people against calling back numbers they don't recognize - especially if they appear to be global.

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Worcester, Massachusetts; Roanoke, Virginia; and Dallas, Texas, have also seen high numbers of spam calls, according to Hiya. Consumers also have the option of asking their phone company to block outgoing worldwide calls.

In some reported cases, the scammers allow more than one ring and leave urgent messages asking you to return the call.

Always be cautious, even if a number appears authentic.

Filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: If you feel that you are a victim of an worldwide phone scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC.

If you fell victim to this scam and were billed as a result, the FCC urges you to first try to resolve the matter with your telephone company.

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