There is a major scam sweeping the United States right now.  If you have been getting strange calls from unknown area codes READ THIS BEFORE ANSWERING THEM. and WGN are reporting that the “one ring scam” has resurfaced.

This is how it works. Scammers use auto-dialers to call cellphone numbers across the U.S. They let the phone ring once, just enough for a missed call message to pop up, then hang up.

Frank Dorman, from the consumer fraud and debt collection in the Federal Trade Commission‘s Office of Public Affairs, said the scam “has been going on for a while.”

The scammers hope you’ll call back — because if you do, you’ll get hit with hefty charges, both per-minute and international.

Many victims reported reaching an automated message service with recordings saying, “Hello. You’ve reached the operator, please hold.”

And you are getting charged the whole time you wait. The scammers will often play hold music or ads to try to keep victims on the phone as the charges add up.

The reason the scam works is because the calls are from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that look like they’re from inside the U.S.  But are actually from international phone numbers — often in the Caribbean.

According to the FTC, the area codes include 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.

Here are the current international area codes within the +1 country code:

242 — Bahamas

441 — Bermuda

784 — St. Vincent and Grenadines

246 — Barbados

473 — Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique

809, 829, and 849 — Dominican Republic

264 — Anguilla

649 — Turks and Caicos

868 — Trinidad and Tobago

268 — Antigua

664 — Montserrat

876 — Jamaica

284 — British Virgin Islands

721 — Sint Maarten

758 — St. Lucia

869 — St. Kitts and Nevis

345 — Cayman Islands

767 — Dominica

Here are the U.S. Territories’ area codes (listed by territory):

American Samoa — 684

Guam — 671

Northern Mariana Islands — 670

Puerto Rico — 787 and 939

U.S. Virgin Islands — 340

Here are the Canadian area codes (listed by province):

Alberta — 403, 587, and 780

Alberta — 403, 587, and 780

British Columbia — 236, 250, 604, and 778

Manitoba — 204 and 431

New Brunswick — 506

Newfoundland — 709 (879 is being added in 2018)

Northwest Territories — 867

Nova Scotia — 902

Nunavut — 867

Ontario — 226, 249, 289, 343, 365, 416, 437, 519, 613, 647, 705, 807, and 905

Quebec — 418, 438, 450, 514, 579, 581, 819, and 873

Saskatchewan — 306 and 639

Yukon — 867

Nationwide — 600 (and possibly 622, 633, 644, 655, 677, and 688)

U.S.-Canada Numbers to Beware:

Area code — 900 reports that there are actually three versions of this scam now:

“Scammer calls and hangs up before anyone answers.

Scammer waits for the victim to answer and plays a pre-recorded message of someone in an emergency situation and then hangs up.

Scammer sends a text message indicating that they are in trouble.”

“If you receive an unexpected call or text from an area code you don’t recognize, don’t answer it. Do a Google search to see where the call is coming from. If it’s someone you know, they’ll call back.”

The Federal Trade Commission recommends “reviewing your cellphone bill carefully and to contact your provider if there are any suspicious charges. If you are a victim of the scam, file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission.” H/T

1 Comment

  1. frane

    August 18, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Have all my friends and family on contact list if someone calls and the name does not pop up I ain’t calling you back unless you leave me a detailed voice mail

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