It’s an elegantly simple scam that preys upon basic human curiosity. Check your phone bills — some of you may already be on the hook for it.
Inc.com reports that there are actually three versions of this scam now:
- Scammer calls and hangs up before anyone answers.
- Scammer waits for the victim to answer and plays a pre-recorded message of someone in an emergency situation and then hangs up.
- Scammer sends a text message indicating that they are in trouble.
If you receive an unexpected call or text from an area code you don’t recognize, don’t answer it. Do a Google search to see where the call is coming from. If it’s someone you know, they’ll call back.
The FTC also recommends reviewing your cellphone bill carefully and to contact your provider if there are any suspicious charges. If you are a victim of the scam, file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission.–FoxNews
They call your number, and cut the call short. The trap is set. And then? They wait.
The rest is up to you.
If you call back, it’ll cost you. You’ll be dialing a long distance (usually international) phone number with pay-per-use charges. They drag the call out as long as possible, and let the charges rack up.
Beware of unfamiliar phone numbers.
Where are these calls coming from?
FTC gives us a partial list:
The calls are from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that look like they’re from inside the U.S., but actually are associated with international phone numbers — often in the Caribbean. The area codes include: 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.
If you get a call like this, don’t pick it up and don’t call the number back. There’s no danger in getting the call: the danger is in calling back and racking up a whopping bill.
If you’re tempted to call back, do yourself a favor and check the number through online directories first. They can tell you where the phone number is registered.
Keep an eye on your billing. And discuss any unusual charges with your carrier.