Scam Warning: Don't Call Back That Number On Your Cell Phone

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(WIBW)-- The Better Business Bureau warning about an increasingly common scam that can result in unauthorized charges on their monthly wireless statement.

Reports from around the country show an increasing number of what is known as the "One Ring" scam because the perpetrators program their computers to blast out thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect.

BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty explained that if you think you missed a call and call back, you will connect to a paid international adult entertainment service or 'chat' line located outside the country."

Victims are subsequently billed not only for the incoming international call when they answer, but also an unwanted "premium service," which typically appears as a $19.95 charge. In some cases, the scammers may only put a small charge of several dollars, so it won't arouse your suspicion.

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

The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called "cramming." The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow.

Since the calls originate and terminate outside of the US, an consultant pointed out that international telecommunications agreements, make it difficult to challenge the charges.

Better Business Bureau recommends if you don't recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it and if you do answer, do not call back. Also you should check your wireless bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any unauthorized charges.