WXXI Local Stories
1:58 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Cell Phone Scam Is Making The Rounds

Credit indianapublicmedia.org

There's a new scam going around that could add a lot of money to your cell phone bill if you're not vigilant.

It starts off innocuously, with someone ringing your cell phone just once, and then hanging up.   But if you call back, and stay on the line for a while, you could find an unwelcome surprise when you eventually get your monthly bill.

The Better Business Bureau calls this "the one ring scam,” and it's been impacting some cell phone users around the country, but recently seems to have cropped up in our region.  Local Better Bureau spokesperson Peg Penders says it usually involves someone calling from an offshore location, like Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and Jamaica. They hang up after one ring, but if you're curious enough to call back and stay on the line for a while, you could be facing a hefty charge.

"This is called 'cramming' where you are going to be responsible for any of those charges, these are international cell phone charges, and we have heard reports from 20 dollars on up, just for returning that phone call."

A spokesman for Verizon Wireless in Rochester, John O'Malley, says the best thing to do is not to pick up any call unless you know where it's coming from. He says the person can always leave a voice mail if it's important.  And both O'Malley and Penders urge you to check your phone bill carefully so that you can call the carrier and ask to have any unauthorized charges removed.