3OYS: Beware of 'one ring' phone scam


by LiAna Gonzales and Gary Harper

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV


Posted on January 29, 2014 at 10:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 11:00 PM

PHOENIX -- Have you ever missed a call from an unknown phone number and wondered who it was? Whatever you do, don't call back.

When Piper Whiteman missed a call from a mysterious number with a strange area code around 3:30 a.m., she researched the number on the Internet. She discovered that the area code originated overseas.

"I don't know anybody who lives in the Dominican, so I immediately Googled the number and started reading people's blogs that they were putting up about how they had all been receiving phone calls from that same number."

Some recipients did not realize the number was from outside the United States and were billed an exorbitant amount of money when they called it back. The longer they stayed on the line, the more money they were charged.

The Phoenix Better Business Bureau on Wednesday issued a consumer warning saying people who called the number back were hit with a premium charge on their cellphone bill that usually amounted to $19.95. That was the minimum charge seen by people who were scammed.

"I can't stand to see the things that are starting to go on and the things that people are getting money from," Whiteman said.

Verizon Wireless has a warning about the "one ring" cellphone scam on its website, telling its customers not to respond to calls from unfamiliar numbers.

Whiteman said she is glad she didn't let curiosity get the best of her, and she hopes her experience serves as a warning for others.

"If you don't know a number and you don't have a voicemail, don't call it back," she said. "If it's important enough, they'll call you back."