One-ring scam calls back in circulation


The 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office has seen a sudden spike in the number of complaints from residents receiving one-ring phone calls over their landline and cell phones, according to a news release.

The way the scam works, according to the release, is that the phone rings once, then abruptly cuts off before the person has a chance to answer, leaving only a missed call notification. The call is then followed by repeated calls that happen either in a short sequence or over the course of a day. The calls always display the same call-back number.

Victims who call back — either because they are curious about the number or because they think someone is trying to get through but keeps getting cut off — are put on hold by an operator before realizing that no one is coming on the line. The call is, in fact, an international call to a scammer, who collects long-distance fees billed to the victim. Fees include a connection charge of $35-$40 and fee-per-minute charges.

The scam is not usually discovered until the victim gets a phone bill. Fortunately, the fees can be deducted if it is reported to the phone carrier when the bill comes in, the release said.

Other signs of a potential scam are that the caller ID number is prefaced by a three-digit number resembling an area code that could be construed as any U.S. code. However, such calls often originate in other countries that also use three-digit area codes.

Other numbers also might be spoofed to appear local.

To remove charges, look for long-distance calls listed on the bill as premium service, international calls or a toll call. Report to the phone carrier the date of the scam, the details of the scam and the phone number that appears on the caller ID, and ask to have the charges deducted. If you do not anticipate needing international phone call service, request that your phone company remove the feature from your plan.

Any scams should be reported to the Federal Communications Commission at


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