The One Ring Scam: Missed calls could cost you

Published: Mar. 25, 2014 at 9:57 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2014 at 9:58 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Returning a missed call from an unknown number might be tempting, but it could cost you.

Officials are saying there is a  new scam that is affecting cell phone users in East Texas and all across the country.

When you hear a cell phone ring, do you get that urge to scramble to the phone, not to miss the call? Madison Payne used to be the same way, but now, she's more careful.

"Something as simple as a nudge or hitting the answer button when you don't mean to could initially cost you," she said.

Her entire family has received calls from the same out-of country-number.

"It's not local, it's not Texas, it's not even the United States," she explained.

The phone will ring once or twice, but upon answering the caller is gone.

"What they're trying to do is get the recipient to be curious about who might have called and then the recipient calls that number back," Mechele Mills, with The Better Business Bureau of Tyler, said.

But, when you call that number back, the BBB says you'll be instantly charged a fee on your monthly statement.

"And what happens is they charge a $19.95 premium service fee plus the international call charges for as long as they're on the phone," Mill explained.

It's called "The One Ring Scam" because scammers have programmed computers to send out thousands of calls to cell phones, ring once, then disconnect before you can answer. They are preying on the victim's curiosity."

"Don't answer numbers that you don't know. It's not worth it," Payne said, "If they leave a message, it's important; if not, don't answer."

As hard as that is, especially for those, like Madison, who are used to seeing different area codes on their screen.

"And if I get a call like that I think it has something to do with me, so yeah, I'm worried, for sure," Payne said.

And if you don't know anyone in another country, don't call that number back, no matter how curious you may be.

The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, has received thousands of complaints about The One Ring Scam. The caller makes money through racking up a charge on your phone bill, then intercepting that money for themselves. If you get one of those calls, you are asked to report the problem to your local better business bureau and cell phone provider.

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