Call back and lose money: Phone scam uses porno sites and Caribbean numbers

Staff writerFebruary 5, 2014 

Not planning Caribbean vacation this winter? Well, maybe some of your money will make the trip.

There’s a new scam in town.

“We’re getting a lot in inquiries,” said David Quinlan, senior director of public relations for the local Better Business Bureau, on Wednesday.

The simple “One-Ring” phone scam works like this: Your phone rings and the caller hangs up; you note a missed call, you get the number and call back; your call is then routed to an expensive international hotline – perhaps the kind that sells  “adult entertainment” and charges upwards of $19.95 to connect plus additional costs per minute.

Charges typically appear on your month-end statements as “premium services.”

“It’s nationwide. We haven’t been able to quantify how big it is. We’re seeing it from Tacoma to Boston. We’re seeing it all over the place,” Quinlan said.

Consumers and businesses have reported calls from several different area codes including Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473).

The illegal process of sneaking unapproved charges onto phone bills is referred to as “cramming” by the Federal Trade Commission, and is one of the most common consumer complaints in America.

The BBB recommends:

• Never return calls to unfamiliar foreign numbers.

• Regularly check wireless statements and immediately report discrepancies.

•Add phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov and report violations.

 

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