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"One Ring" robocalling scam wants you to call back

  • Fraudsters are calling victims and letting the phone ring just once, hoping to get targets to call back. 
  • Recipients who do call back are connected with a 900 number that charges per-minute fees. 
  • Consumers shouldn't return calls they don't recognize, according to the FCC.

You may want to avoid returning anonymous phone calls. In one robocall ploy that U.S. telecommunications regulators are warning about, scammers are letting people's phones ring just once before hanging up without leaving a message. Their game? Realizing they have missed a call, some recipients dial back and are connected to a 900 number that charges per-minute fees.

One-ring phone schemes are thought to have originated in Japan and are known there as "wangiri," or "one ring and cut." Advances in technology have made it easy for fraudsters to target specific area codes and place repeated calls during the night, the Federal Communications Commission said.

Congress considers criminal penalties for robocalls 01:41

Residents in New York and Arizona have been targeted of late, the FCC said, with the latest fake calls using the 222 area code for West African nation Mauritania. Of course, robocallers can spoof their phone numbers to make them appear as if they're coming from anywhere in the U.S. or overseas.

Consumers shouldn't return calls they don't recognize, according to the agency. If targeted, they should monitor their bills for premium charges. They can try resolving the matter with their phone company, and possibly block outgoing international calls if they don't regularly make them. 

Consumers who feel they were scammed can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.  

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