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Kentucky State Police warned last week that cell phone users should be aware of a new scam called “The one-ring scam,” which has been reported frequently to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Kentucky and in other states.
A number of people have reported receiving phone calls that were a “ring-and-run,” where the culprit leaves a missed call in the hopes of getting the target to return the call.
“A computer program originating outside the U.S. dials American customers and lets the phone ring one or two times before hanging up,” said KSP spokesman Sgt. Michael Webb. “This is enough time to register on a phone’s missed-calls screen, but typically not enough time for a user to actually answer.
“Many people who receive a missed call will return the call and that is when their account is charged approximately $20 for the call and $9 for every additional minute,” he added.
According to the KSP’s press release, BBB has referred to the scam strategy as “phone cramming,” which consists of an automated dialer sending out thousands of calls to numbers chosen at random. Though the report pointed out that most of the area codes indicate an origin in the Caribbean islands, there is no way to know where the calls are truly coming from.
Webb recommended cell-phone users keep an eye on their phone records and pay attention to the number that called before returning missed calls.
“We are encouraging people to review their cell phone statements and contact their cellular carrier immediately if they notice unauthorized charges,” he said.
The BBB listed the following area codes as having been connected with the scam:
Dominican Republic - 809
Jamaica - 876
British Virgin Islands - 284
Grenada - 473
Aruba - 297
Antigua - 268