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Should I call this number back? Avoiding one ring scams

Be careful when returning calls
Be careful when returning calls
Harold Nolte

You missed a call from someone but you're not sure whether to call the person back. You have heard stories about people getting charged for calling numbers that route to other countries. If you own a business you want to return missed calls because they can mean more business. But you don't want to get scammed. What do you do? This article shares tips to help avoid getting ripped off by scammers.

In what seems an unending stream of people trying to get your money in unending ways, one way is through your phone. People purposely call your number and hang up before you can answer. That puts their number in your call history. They hope you will call them back. If you do, you unwittingly get charged for the call, sometimes up to $20 per minute.

Below are a few simple things you can do to help you avoid giving away your hard-earned money.

  • Use caution. The first thing to do is be careful. If something seems strange it may be a red flag. Use the suggestions below to learn as much as you can before you call back, if you decide to. But being careful is a good start.
  • Check origin information. Many smartphones tell you where the call originated from. Look at the origin if your phone shows it. If your phone doesn't list a call's origin that is probably a bad sign. If the call originated form one of the 50 states it's pretty unlikely you will be charged for calling back unless of course you are charged for non-local calls. And unless it's from area code 900.
  • Check your voicemail. Scammers probably won't leave a message. If a caller has an important message for you they will call back or leave a message. Some experts suggest you let the caller call you back if you don't know who it is and they didn't leave a message.
  • Check the internet. Do a search of the number's area code. Google and other search engines will tell you the location of any area code. Just type the 3-digit code (that's all you need to enter) to do a search.
  • Call your service provider. Ask them the origin of the call. Ask them if there will be a charge if you call the person back. Your service provider can tell you how much it would cost to call any country.

Area code 473 is one that you should particularly avoid. There have been reports of many one-ring calls from this area code. Here is a list of other area codes and their locations that can also be sources of one-ring scams.

  • Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique (473)
  • Antigua (268)
  • Jamaica (876)
  • Dominican Republic (809)
  • British Virgin Islands (284)

This Wikipedia article has more information about one ring scams.

If you do get caught by dialing one of these locations you can contact your service provider and ask them what they can do. You may be able to convince them to reverse the charges since these calls are known scams.

You don't want to give your hard-earned money to scammers so be careful and remember these tips. A little caution will help you avoid them.

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