BBB continues to warn about "Don’t Call Back" scam

Updated: 02/11/2014 11:49 PM
Created: 02/11/2014 11:36 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

Have you received a phone call from a number you didn't know, and the person on the other end hung up?

When News10NBC first reported this, we heard from many of you who said it happened to you!

The Better Business Bureau continues to investigate a scam in which the scammer calls you and hangs up after one ring.
What is the goal of this scam? It’s to get you to call back or answer, so they can put fake charges on your bill.

News10NBC spoke with the Better Business Bureau Tuesday night about the “Don’t Call Back” scam.

The BBB says this call could end up costing you a minimum of $20 a month. This latest scheme has been happening across the United States, and the BBB is warning it has made its way to our area.

“This particular scam is really tricky. It’s really playing on sense of curiosity, where our cell phones are being hit with one ring and one ring only,” said Peggy Penders, spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau.

Penders says the people behind this scheme hope the one ring gets you to call back, but that's the one thing the BBB is warning consumers not to do.

She says it works almost like a collect call. The call connects you to an adult entertainment service or chat line. Not only are you billed for the international call, but also for the unwanted "premium service."

This practice of placing unwanted charges on wireless accounts is known as “cramming.” It's a reoccurring charge that could end up costing you. The BBB says in some cases victims are charged only a small fee, as to not arouse suspicion. Some consumers say this is scary.

“In the past if someone called and I could see the number, not the name, I would call back to find out who it was, if it was an emergency. But I've learned over the years not do things like that, because it just confirms that the number is active and they keep calling you and the cycle continues. Yeah it's really scary not knowing you're going to be charged for this call,” said Campbell McDermid, Henrietta resident.

“It's really important that we're checking our cell phone bills and that we're doing that regularly. Cell phone carriers will allow you to dispute a charge, but only up to 60 days. So if it gets by you, you're kind of stuck with that,” said Penders.

The BBB says the area codes that appear on the caller ID often originate from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473).

Your best defense is to not to answer the call at all. Your second line of defense is to go over your phone bill, line by line, every month and make sure to report any unauthorized charges.

To learn more about this scam and how to keep yourself protected, click here.

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