BBB Warns of 'Missed Call' Scam

Laura Berry

OMAHA(KPTM)-The Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users to take a closer look at their caller I. D. before hitting "redial."

The "One Ring Scam" targets consumers by calling cell phones and letting them ring once before hanging up. When the caller hits redial and connects, it not only bills them for the international service but signs them up for a "premium service" adding $19.95 to their monthly phone bills.

Jim Hegarty of the Better Business Bureau warns that the calls are known to come from four area codes: The Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284), and Grenada (473). "It's pretty likely if you call any of those numbers back, you're going to get some charges on your cell phone bill that won't make you happy," said Hegarty.

Hegarty adds that many people don't realize they've been victimized because they don't check their billing statements closely. "A nineteen dollar charge is quite a bit for one call, right? But if all of the sudden your cell phone bill goes up twenty bucks for the month, maybe you won't notice," said Hegarty who says that's what the crooks are counting on. He says the best way to stay safe from scammers is simply not to return calls that come from the area codes above.

He also advises consumers to check all of their bills as frequently as possible to head off fraud if criminals come across your information.

Hegarty isn't just speaking as an expert, he's also had crooks try to use his bank information through a different scam. He uses his experience to show that anyone can be a victim. " Every month, every week, if not every single day, be online, look at your bank statements, look at your credit card statements, your cel phone statements, and make sure there aren't any charges on there that you don't understand," said Hegarty.