One-Ring Phone Scam Can Rack Up Big Bills


May 9, 2019

Scams that involve phone calls are nothing new, it remains one of the top ways that scammers target consumers. But a new scam involves a phone call that just triggers one ring on your phone. Consumers all over the country are reporting the scam. Luckily by following a few simple tips, you can avoid getting caught up by this fraud.

The scam starts by you receiving a call that hangs up after one ring. You may receive a series of calls from the same number, which may be from your area code. If you call the number back, you are asked to accept charges to connect the call. You may then be put on hold for a long period of time or passed to different operators. Eventually you hang up. When you receive your phone bill or it is autopaid, you'll have incurred extra charges.

The calls you are receiving are robocalls which make it very easy for scammers to target lots of numbers with repeated calls. When you call back, you are often calling a spoofed number that will route you to an international line. Those charges can be $10 or more per minute plus potentially other fees and charges the scammers try to cram on your bill. Phone companies generally do not dispute these charges, they simply pass them on to you. And if your bill is on autopay, you might not notice the charges.

To protect yourself from this type of scam, BBB recommends you do the following:

• Don't call back a number that you don't recognize who hangs up without leaving a voicemail.

• Review your phone bill every month. If it is on autopay, set yourself a reminder to check your bill before it is paid so you can dispute any suspicious charges.

• If you do not need to make international calls, considering contacting your phone service provider and asking them to block international calls on your line.

This type of scam might not include some of the eye-popping losses of other scams, but it can cause someone to lose hundreds of dollars if they stay on an international line for too long. Be sure to use caution when answering or returning calls from unfamiliar numbers. With robocalling technology being cheap and easy to set up, expect this scam to have a wide reach over the next few months.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming, which was founded in 1983 and serves 38 counties in Colorado and Wyoming.


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