"One ring" and you could be a phone scam victim

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is warning residents about a "one ring" scam that can rack up extra charges on your phone bill.

The scammers call your cell phone, let it ring once then hang up. The scam works when the caller returns the call.

"When you get those one calls from an unknown area code, don't call back," said Joe Bindbeutel, Chief Counsel of the Consumer Protection Division with the Missouri Attorney General's office.

He said this scam is centered around robo-dialing.  

"There is actually a machine that dials a given individual's number, the machine then cuts off after one ring and leaves a call back number on your caller ID," Bindbeutel said.

That call back number has an area code of 4-7-3.

"473 is an off shore area code, it is not a legitimate American area code," he said. "They dial that 473 number and what that number does automatically bill your phone bill charges that you did not know about, you did not authorize."

The caller is charged $20 dollars for the international call plus additional per-minute charges for premium services.

"If the scammer can get you to call back, it's going to automatically appear on your telephone bill," he said.

And once the scammer has your information, you could be targeted more than once.

"Repeated frauds are potentially perpetrated on those folks who have lost that information," Bindbeutel said. "They have been very difficult to follow up on because many of the principals and operations are off shore."

He suggest checking your phone bill for any unknown charges.

"Consumers need to be sure they know what they're paying for each item on their phone bill," he said. "Charges can sneak on there by scammers and you're not getting any services for that."

Bindbeutel said it's important to remember to never call back an unfamiliar number and to never give out any personal information over the phone. 

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