“The Ring” means more than just a dead girl crawling out of a well; it can also mean the one ring that you get on your cell phone that’s designed to get you to call back to find out who the caller was—only you’ll end up getting a charge on your next bill instead.
The official name of this scam is the “one ring,” and here is how it works:
Your cell phone rings once. You may not get to the device in time to answer, and you don’t recognize the number and are curious, so you call back. You’re then connected to some chat line or international adult entertainment service.
If you answer the device while it’s still in ring mode, the “caller” will hang up, but you can still get charged simply for answering, even if you don’t call back. ($19.95 fee for an international call, and/or a $9 per minute charge).
The scam works via a computer that randomly sends out thousands of calls to cell phone numbers. And your number may be that lucky number. The Better Business Bureau warns that if your mobile rings once, don’t call back.
Apparently, this scam, committed by crooks called crammers, originates from the Caribbean Islands. If you think you’ve been crammed, contact the BBB as well as your mobile carrier. Review your bill closely for any unauthorized charges.
What if you want to answer your phone the moment it rings? If you see the following area codes from the incoming call, do not answer (remember, simply answering the call can net you a charge): Jamaica (876), Dominican Republic (809), British Virgin Islands (284), Antigua (268) and Grenada (473).
There have been thousands of reviewed complaints about this crime, according to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. And the crime of cramming is expected to get bigger.