- Conmen ring and hang up hoping a victim will call back
- Victim is charged sky-high international rate to be connected
- Calls tend to originate from the Caribbean, according to experts
- Scam is on the rise, according to experts
By Tom Gardner
PUBLISHED: 09:07 EST, 3 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:14 EST, 3 February 2014
Scam: A phishing scam in which conmen leave a missed call and charge high rates when a victim calls back is on the rise (Stock picture)
Criminal gangs may have netted a fortune from a phishing scam which involves unsuspecting victims calling back unknown missed numbers.
In the so-called ‘one-ring phone scam’, a computer operated by a conman will dial a number and leave a missed called.
Victims who try to return the call are then redirected to an international adult entertainment service, ‘chat’ line, or other premium service located outside the country.
Those who fall for the ploy end up paying a $19.95 international call fee, plus a $9 per minute rate – sometimes more.
Authorities have now warned the scam may be on the rise as criminals take advantage of people’s curiosity.
It is thought a handful of criminals could be bombarding thousands of phone numbers with the scam using computer programs.
Calls typically originate from outside the United States, according to the Better Business Bureau.
One victim said her caller ID indicated the call originated in Antigua or Barbuda (area code 268). Other consumers across the country report calls from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473), the Better Business Bureau reported.
The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called ‘cramming’.
Profitable: Conmen are using computer programs to bombard unsuspecting victims with missed calls which are charged at sky-high international rates if they are called back (Stock picture)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow.
Anyone who receives an unfamiliar out-of-state telephone number is advised to ignore it and not to call back.
People are also being urged to check their phone bills and alert their provider if they spot any unusual charges on the bill.
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