May 28 2019

FCC Warns of ‘One Ring’ Phone Scam


If you get a call from a strange number and it only rings once or twice, don’t call back.


The Federal Communications Commission is alerting consumers to reported waves of “One Ring” or “Wangiri” scam robocalls targeting specific area codes in bursts, often calling multiple times in the middle of the night. The scam works by getting people to call them back either out of curiosity about who’s calling or concern that they might have missed an important call. However, if you call the number you will be charged for it.


“These calls are likely trying to prompt consumers to call the number back, often resulting in per minute toll charges similar to a 900 number,” the FCC says. “Consumers should not call these numbers back.”


Recent reports indicate these calls are using the “222” country code of the West African nation of Mauritania, the FCC warning says.  


“Generally, the One Ring scam takes place when a robocaller calls a number and hangs up after a ring or two,” the FCC says. “They may call repeatedly, hoping the consumer calls back and runs up a toll that is largely paid to the scammer.”  


Consumer Tips:

- Do not call back numbers you do not recognize, especially those appearing to originate overseas.

- File a complaint with the FCC if you received these calls:

- If you never make international calls, consider talking to your phone company about blocking outbound international calls to prevent accidental toll calls.

- Check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize.


“Advances in technology allow massive amounts of calls to be made cheaply and easily,” the FCC says. “In addition, spoofing tools make it easy for scammers to mask their identity. The FCC is working to combat scam calls with enforcement actions, a strong push for caller ID authentication, and support for call blocking tools.”


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