SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Do you ever get a phone call from a number that appears local, but you don’t recognize it and it ends after one ring? Do NOT call them back!
State Attorney General Ashley Moody says this is how the "One-Ring Phone Scam" works. Though they look local, the calls are actually coming from outside the United States. When you call back, the scammer will try to keep you on the phone.
That's because the scammers are using a service that charges a connection fee and a per-minute charge. The scammers will receive a portion of these fees and you'll be the one stuck footing the bill.
Moody said, "If you do not recognize a number, do not call it back, and if something seems suspicious, report it to my office immediately or contact the Federal Communications Commission."
According to the FCC, variations of the scam involve the scammer leaving a voice message requesting a return call in order to schedule a delivery or obtain urgent information about a sick relative. For more information, click here.
To avoid the One-Ring Phone Scam, Floridians should:
- Never answer or return calls from unfamiliar numbers;
- Check to see if the country or area code is international before returning phone calls from unrecognized numbers;
- Request telephone service providers block outgoing international numbers if the consumer does not otherwise make or receive international calls; and
- Remain cautious when receiving calls, even if a number appears authentic.
If you do get billed for one of these calls, before you pay it, first call your telephone company. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with the FCC at no cost.
If a consumer is billed for a call made as a result of this scam, the consumer should first try to resolve the matter with the telephone company. If unsuccessful, consumers can file a complaint with the FCC at no cost.
The Sarasota Police Department said it hasn’t received any reports of residents in Sarasota falling victim to this scam, but they did have similar recommendations to protect yourself.
“Do your due diligence," said Genevieve Judge, spokesperson for the Sarasota Police Department. "Be aware that these phone scams are out there. If a number calls your phone that you don’t recognize, don’t answer and don’t call back. Maybe just Google the number to see. A lot of times, when I receive these scam calls, I’ll google the number, do I recognize the number? And 9 out of 10 times it’s not a number that’s going to come back to someone I need to speak to.”
You can also report the call to the State Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-9NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.