Crime

Consumer Alert issued by Florida attorney general about those one-ring phone calls

Spoofing: Don’t hang on, hang up

What is spoofing? Scammers falsify caller ID numbers that appear on your phone, disguising their identities as they try to steal your money or valuable personal information. Learn what you can do to avoid spoofing scams: fcc.gov/spoofing
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What is spoofing? Scammers falsify caller ID numbers that appear on your phone, disguising their identities as they try to steal your money or valuable personal information. Learn what you can do to avoid spoofing scams: fcc.gov/spoofing

Unlike the postman, the scammer sometimes rings once, according to Monday’s Consumer Alert from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. And you shouldn’t call back.

Moody’s alert about the “One-Ring Phone Scam” comes a month after a similar warning from the Federal Communications Commission.

Here’s how the phone fraud works, according to the FCC and Moody’s office:

Your phone rings for a single ring, then there’s a hangup whether or not you answer the phone. Though the area code appears to be from the United States, it uses either an international number from a region code that looks like an area code or spoofs a U.S. number.

What the scammer hopes is you’ll wonder whose call got cut off and call back. Other ways of luring you into that return call are leaving a voice mail about “scheduling a delivery” or telling you about an alleged “sick relative.”

Once you make that return call, you’ll be connected to a non-domestic phone number, get charged a connection fee as well as per-minute fees. The scammers get a piece of those funds.

“If you do not recognize a number, do not call it back, and if something seems suspicious, report it to my office immediately (via this link or 1-866-9NO-SCAM) or contact the Federal Communications Commission,” Moody says in a statement.

To avoid this scam:

If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer.

If you have to return a call from a number you don’t know, check the area code to make sure it’s not an international area code.

If you don’t make international calls, have your phone carrier put a block on making international calls.

Even if a number looks real, it might not be. Hang up if someone appears to be stalling.

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By learning how scammers ask you to pay, find out how to spot – and stop – scams.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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