Remember a time where the national Do Not Call list actually meant something? You could simply add your name and number and never be bothered by pesky marketing calls. It was amazing!
Welcome to the age of technology, when more people own cell phones than land lines. Robocalls have taken advantage of that fact, becoming much worse as the years went by. According to the NY Times, robocalls reached over 3.4 billion people in April 2018!
That’s an astounding 900 million more than in 2017.
But even though you think robocalls are a pesky annoyance, the Federal Trade Commission is warning of a new scam.
Apparently, these robocall creators are trying to outsmart us (surprise!), and they’re trying a new tactic. Many consumers have received late-night calls where their phone rings once and stops. You may be asking, “What’s the point in that?”
Well, a lot. Some consumers call the number back, not realizing it’s a scam. The redial routes your call to a 900 number, which means you can absorb high calling fees paid directly to the scammers.
These recent “One Ring” calls attempt to bait consumers into calling the number back, which can result in you being billed toll charges as if you called a 900 number. The calls are also known as “Wangiri” – the term means “one ring and done” in Japanese, so labeled after the scam originated there years ago.
How can you avoid this?
If you receive a late-night call, pay close attention to the area code of the caller. The FCC reports these criminals are using a “222” area code connected to the West African nation of Mauritania, so if you spot that area code, don’t call back.
While the House and Senate have talked a little bit about what to do, even actually working on some legislation, we are not really seeing the benefits yet. The best thing to do right now is to ignore any suspicious call activity – or any suspicious message you may receive – so you don’t accidentally fall victim to these perfidious scammers.