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Avoiding the Latest Cell Phone Scam

cell phone scamsThe newest cell phone scam is called the “one ring” scam, and it’s not a Tolkien reference.

The scam starts when a foreign number dials your cell phone, rings once, and hangs up. The scammers are counting on you to simply return dial the missed call the way so many of us do.

When you do, you’re usually told to hold for the operator. By the time you get off the phone you may have already racked up a $20 charge to an adult “pay by the minute” phone service.

You will never hear anything that identifies the service or which warns you that you’re about to rack up a new phone charge. Think about it–the scammers only need you to sit for one minute to make good money. If they can get 100 people or more to rack up $20 charges each hour they’re going to bring in some serious cash.

And since they’re using auto-dialers they can generally bring in more than that.

So what can you do?

First, don’t just blindly hit auto redial. If you don’t recognize a number, Google it–and recognize that if someone won’t leave voicemail it typically wasn’t terribly important to begin with.

Second, watch for the following area codes:

  • 268
  • 284
  • 809
  • 473
  • 876
  • 649

Finally, be suspicious of anyone who hangs up after one ring. Most callers will let a phone ring 2 to 3 times before giving up. And you probably already know how long your ring tone has to chime before your voicemail kicks on.

Of course, this is not the only scam out there. There are dozens of ways that people can rip you off over the phone! So for your own safety and the safety of your family, you should always be cautious about taking calls or returning calls if you don’t know who is on the other end of the line.

The one ring scam has been happening in Charlotte, so be careful. We want to keep you safe even from threats that a home alarm system can’t catch, so we will continue to keep you appraised of other threats to your home, family, and property as we learn about them.


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