The telephone is a very common way that scammers target seniors. According to the Better Business Bureau, a new type of telephone scam is making the rounds in which the victim gets charged for attempting to return a phone call.
This new scam is called the “One Ring” scam because the target’s phone usually only rings once before the call is disconnected. When the person tries to return the call to see who it was, they are charged a $19.95 international call fee plus $9 per minute while on the line. Victims have reported the calls seem to be mostly coming from Caribbean countries, often with area codes 876, 809, 473, 274, or 268. With the endless array of new area codes with burgeoning cellphone use, it’s often impossible to tell by looking at caller ID if the call is legitimate or not. Some calls may come from domestic area codes as well. I think there’s a risk of “scam layering” with this as well, such as combining the “one ring” scam with the grandparent scam, keeping the elder on the line and racking up charges while talking to crooks who scare them with false stories about their grandchild’s being in trouble in a foreign country.
An elder who gets caught in this scam should notify their phone company right away, since documenting the scam may help get the charges removed. Here are a few reminders about how to prevent cellphone fraud, courtesy of the BBB: