It's called the "One Ring" scam, because the scammer's program computers to send thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect. The scammers then hope you are curious enough about the call that you return the call right away.
"As yet, we have not had any complaints filed but given how rapidly this scam is spreading and growing across the country our opinion is it won't be long." said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
When the cell phone owner returns the call they are charged $19.95 for the international call fee. After that there is a $9.00 per minute charge. "Often they will first hear music, then maybe advertising but it's easy to see how quickly these charges can add up," noted Bernas.
Consumers who have been duped by these calls report that they are coming from the Caribbean Islands, including Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica, and the British Virgin Islands. If a person thinks they may have fallen for this scam, they should immediately alert their cell phone carrier and keep an eye on their cell phone bill. The earlier they document the fraud the better their chances of having some or all of the charges removed.
Bernas added, "To be as safe as possible the best thing to do if your phone rings and it's an international number you don't recognize don't answer and don't call back"
Credit card charges of $9.84 to generic websites may be scam, BBB warns
In the aftermath of the massive holiday data breach that effected Target and a number of other major retailers, consumers are now faced with yet another reason to be concerned about the safety of their credit cards.
Reports are surfacing that consumers are finding unauthorized charges of $9.84 on their statements. The business that levied the charge claims that the fee is for "customer support" and it may appear on the statement as one of many different websites. It appears their plan is fly under the radar when they hit individual accounts.
"These individuals are aware that small charges under ten dollars often go un-noticed, which would not be the case for larger amounts. For example, in the hundreds of dollars," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "This fraud relies on consumers being a little careless and not closely examining their statements."
Bernas noted, "It is possible that some of the cards that have been hit may be the result of the data stolen in the holiday breach. However, authorities are still investigating that possibility."
Victims of this fraud report that, when they've accessed the website listed on their statement, they were given a customer support phone number and email address. After calling the number, they were told that the charge would be removed. However, the only way that consumers can be certain that they have taken positive steps to protect themselves is to contact their card issuer regarding the suspected fraud and follow their recommendations.
The Better Business Bureau suggests consumers:
- Request a new card.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit file. The Federal Trade Commission has easy to follow instructions on its website.
- Closely monitor all of your accounts.
For more information on credit card fraud and Identity Theft visit www.bbb.org.