5 On Your Side

Latest phone scam charges callers who return missed calls

Posted February 4, 2014

If you miss a call from somewhere in the Caribbean Islands, don't call back.

It's a scam that's happening nationwide and is starting to hit in the Triangle.

5 On Your Side called the Better Business Bureau on Monday about the so-called one-ring scam, and the agency issued a warning Tuesday against it.

It’s called “one ring” because the scammers barely let a cellphone ring once, then hang up. They want recipients to call back.

When recipients return the call, they are charged almost $20. Callers who stay on the line can be charged $9 or more a minute.

The calls are coming from places in the Caribbean, including:

• Antigua or Barbuda – area code 268
• Dominican Republic - area code 809
• Jamaica - area code 876
• British Virgin Islands – area code 284
• Grenada – area code 473

The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called "cramming." Federal authorities have looked at thousands of complaints and warn the problem will continue.

The best advice: If you don't recognize the number, don't answer.

If you do get scammed, contact your provider. Most will reverse the charges the first time it happens.



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  • htomc42 Feb 10, 2014

    At one time, the phone providers were actively involved in kickbacks and fees from the "cram" charges. Think maybe they still might be involved? Otherwise, how hard would it be for them to give customers some means to block all calls from those areacodes?

  • righthere1234 Feb 7, 2014

    It drives my husband nuts that I don't answer calls if I don't recognize the number. It's not like I'm handing out my cell phone number to everyone I meet so if you're calling my cell you should be in my address book too. If I don't recognize the number, I always google it just in case, especially if it's a local number, and I never call an unknown number back if they don't leave me a voicemail.

  • TwoWheels Feb 7, 2014

    I got 2 of these calls last week but ignored them. Later I saw the warning floating around on FB. I went back and looked at the calls and they were 268 numbers. Don's just pass this info on to your friends, be sure and educate your kids on the scam.

  • Common_Sensey Feb 6, 2014

    Why would ANYONE return a missed call to a number they don't know anyway? Unless you're a salesman or something who usually gets random calls..

  • busyb97 Feb 6, 2014

    I've had these for awhile. But right after I heard about this scam last week, I got one that same day- 268 number. I'm like Eracer....if I don't recognize the number, I don't answer. I figure if it is important, they will leave a voicemail. if they don't, I do not want to talk to them anyway probably! (likely a telemarketer or scam).

    But be warned...I had a TEXT message the next day very strange..telling me that I needed to call them at this number (which was different than the number on the text message). I forget what the reason was, but it was suspicious, and was an area code for another one of those Caribbean areas. So watch those too.

  • eRacer Feb 5, 2014

    I received one of those calls on my cell phone last night around 10 pm. Basically, if I don't recognized the number or there isn't a number I don't answer it. If it's important, they will leave a message. Seems to work for me.

  • saustin552 Feb 5, 2014

    I received one of these calls around midnight last week. Instantly thought of the worse possible senarios, but when my husband googled the number and found out it originated in Antigua, I assumed it was a misdail. Glad I didn't call it back!

  • jakejj995 Feb 4, 2014

    another scam from scum.. send this to your friends and family and let kick these scum in the head.