'One Ring' cellphone scam could cost you

Published On: Feb 04 2014 07:04:59 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 04 2014 05:33:31 PM EST

A new scam is designed to pay on cellphone users' curiosity.

BOCA RATON, Fla. -

Consumer experts are warning cellphone users about a new scam that could lead to big charges on your phone bill.

It's called the "One Ring" cellphone scam because that's how many times callers let it ring before they hang up.

What you do next determines whether you potentially become a victim.

"It's scary because how many people are getting ripped off per day is astronomical," said Craig Arganoff, a tech expert with Gripd.com.

The scam is designed to prey on your curiosity. If you call the number back, the scammers slap your phone bill with a $20 connection fee, and then keep charging you $9 a minute as you wait for a real person to come on the line.

Arganoff said this robo-call-type program is capable of dialing tens of thousands of numbers a day and for the crooks behind it, it's a numbers game.

"Look, they'll send out a million of these and they know that at least 1 percent is going to call back, so it's quite an effective scam," Arganoff said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the devious dialers just started their scam last week and it's sweeping fast across the country.

Most of the calls are coming from Caribbean countries with U.S.-like area codes. One of the numbers that show up on your caller ID is 268-762-0021.

The BBB expects complaints will be pouring in over the next couple weeks.

"The most important thing is when your phone bill comes in, take the time to check the charges," said BBB spokesman Michael Gavin.

You could also Google the number before you call back to make sure it's legit, but experts say the best way not to get scammed is to keep your curiosity in check.

"If you just don't recognize the number, don't call them back. If there's no message, it's probably not worth calling back," Arganoff said.

The BBB is investigating whether the personal information being used in this phone scam was obtained in the massive security breach at Target before the holidays.

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