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Who’s calling now? That number doesn’t ring a bell. Hold the phone, says the Federal Trade Commission. You could be a potential victim of the growing "one-ring” cell phone scam.

Here’s how it works: Scammers are using auto-dialers to call cell phone numbers across the country. Scammers let the phone ring once — just enough for a missed call message to pop up.

The scammers hope you’ll call back, either because you believe a legitimate call was cut off, or you will be curious about who called. If you do, chances are you’ll hear something like, “Hello. You’ve reached the operator, please hold.” All the while, you’re getting slammed with some hefty charges — a per-minute charge on top of an international rate. The calls are from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that look like they’re from inside the U.S., but actually are associated with international phone numbers — often in the Caribbean. The area codes include: 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.

If you get a call like this, don’t pick it up and don’t call the number back. There’s no danger in getting the call: the danger is in calling back and racking up a whopping bill.

If you're tempted to call back, do yourself a favor and check the number through online directories first. They can tell you where the phone number is registered.

If you’ve been a victim of the “one-ring” scam, try to resolve the charges with your cell phone carrier. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

And as a general rule: Read your phone bill often — line by line. If you don’t recognize or understand a charge, contact your carrier.

I’ve got to go now; my cell phone is ringing.


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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April 29, 2019

In reply to by Curious George

It's probably similar to a 900 number. But they don't need to ask for a credit card since they can just bill your cell phone provider. And possibly because it's a foreign service, they aren't required to get your permission before they start charging you.
March 19, 2019
Got a call from +222 34 42 43 25, Mauritania west Africa. It rang twice then listed as missed call. I did not answer or call back. No voice mail left.
March 21, 2019
222 34 47 91 00 just called and hung up when i answered. Google says its a number in africa.
Just got one too
March 26, 2019
Just got one miss call from +359 2 490 3356. Don't know who is calling but didn't answer and didn't return the call either. They don't seem to run out of numbers to use though: +359 2 490 2247, +359 2 490 5129, +359 2 437 4173, +359 2 437 4158, +359 2 437 4807, +359 2 490 3362, +350 2 490 3359, +359 2 490 3376, + 359 2 490 3348, +359 2 490 2249, +359 2 437 4158, +359 2 495 8562, + 971 6 519 6554, +960 2 32671759
March 29, 2019
I keep getting calls from different numbers..Some come.from Michigan and I dont know where the others comes from If I answer they will say "Hello your social security number is being charged with fraud.Please click 1 to speak to a officer..if you it gone on hold then it hangs up.They will.also leave that msg on my voice mail..If you try to call them back it says .call regected. I am also.getting the 2 rings calls mentioned above..when I tried to call it back it's says I dont have enough on money on my phone to make this call.I have prepaid not a Bill phone.I.also get on that is a private number and sounds like a recording and hello this is Jenny.Then it hangs up.
sal rocky
March 30, 2019
I think a prepaid phone will not permit the call from going through
April 02, 2019
Whic number is +31 13 369 9568??? They called and called
April 02, 2019
Here is another number to block +257 76 78 74 86, it originates from a lovely sounding name, Burundi.
April 03, 2019
They are back!! 1+47669312022
Patrick C.
April 06, 2019
These idiots are calling before 6am on a Saturday.
Cheers22on't u…
April 06, 2019
Unwanted multiple calls to my cell and my husband as cell ph all night long, I have blocked the numbers but they somehow unblock it and continue to call! I never answer but the call starting at 1:00 am until 4:00 am the area codes are international ??? 1-994 and 1-451
Cheers22on't u…
April 06, 2019
I just received another call from the same number 1-994-515-492-440 I blocked this number but it continues to come through
Itche Lebo
April 17, 2019
I got this numbers a few times a day didn't know what it is Thanks for telling me
April 20, 2019
I received a call from +222 31 37 95 68. What kind of call is this? Where is it from???
April 23, 2019
I got a call from +1(597) 0 unfortunately I was caught of guard. The moment I answered and saw the number I told them never to call this number again. They hung up, the person didn't speak very good English.
April 29, 2019
Received a call showing on my cell phone as +1 (1) (575) 066-420. I did not answer it and put the number in google to look it up and was taken to this site. I almost called back since we do business out of the country and employees are currently traveling. I will block it but I am sure will get more from other numbers. I wish there was something to do to prevent this.
May 02, 2019
‭+232 21 19 01 85‬ Was the number I got blocked immediately
May 03, 2019
2 322 120 0133, 115 4696, and Private numbers all day and all night !!!! Cant get ATT on the phone
May 03, 2019
‭+232 21 00 13 57‬ This number called my work cell about 5 times in the middle of the night, by just ringing once. Then it started calling my personal cell and then called my wife’s cell once. We didn’t answer. I am enraged!!!
May 03, 2019
232 21 20 01 46, 232 21 00 87 47, 232 21 20 01 38, 232 21 00 13 57, these numbers keep calling I do not answer or call back. Please make this stop. My number is on the do not call list, but I feel this registrar no longer works.
May 04, 2019
I had just got a call the number was +222 38 72 60 01, if you get this number it is most likely a scam call I got lucky I didn't answer it or call it back be on the look out for this number.
May 04, 2019
I jus thought got a +232 call saying from Sierra Leone and did not answer. However, when I went to see what the number was to Google, it accidentally dialed it back. I hung up immediately but it shows 10 seconds....I hope I don't get dinged with a charge. Wish to goodness there was a way to stop all this mess.
who Is Sierra …
May 05, 2019
Been receiving phone calls from a Sierra Leone with different numbers such as ‭+232 21 20 01 46‬ ‭+232 21 20 01 00‬ They call twice.
May 05, 2019
so i got a phone call from a string of numbers that go as 232 21 20 01 03 and 232 21 20 01 89. I do not know what the phone number leads back to. it looked like a basic array of coordinates to me but they called and the name on the phone number was Sierra Leone
May 05, 2019
I have gotten numerous calls 232 21 00 13 80 232 21 00 16 74 232 21 00 15 83 232 21 00 15 84 These all say from Sierra Leone Then another from Lithuania. 370 619 88 213 I am so sick of these call all hours of the night and early morning I block you each but then another comes up.
May 06, 2019
+232 21 00 19 01 This number called 13x in one day not to mention at 12:17am, 3:51am, 3:57am, 4:04am and 4:32am THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!!
W jake
May 06, 2019
Got a one ring call form 232 21 00 26 67 that is the way it showed up on my phone !
David k
May 06, 2019
‭Got a one ring call a few times from this no ‭+232 21 00 29 15‬ just blocked it
May 07, 2019
+232 21 00 25 36 This number calls me twice a day. I just ignore and blocked on my iPhone.
May 07, 2019
‭+232 21 00 26 67‬ A number from Sierra Leone keep calling.
May 22, 2019
Interesting, thanks for the info, I see that comments are from 2014 and seeing i'm posting on now on 2019 as someone has bin calling me from algeria +213 670 43 09 79 which changes numbers every now and than but still coming from algeria and its getting annoying, as you say too that it calls and hangs up yep does that all the time :/ So im just going to go to my phone costumer place to tell them if they can find out who it is.
May 31, 2019
What if I just answered it? Before I read this, I was fast enough to answer, but once I looked at the number I hung up.
June 03, 2019
This number won't stop calling all the time every so often who is it +61243930921
June 03, 2019
I got called by +257 78 13 18 28 i was gonna open it untill it hanged up then i searched it up i said “Thank God i didn’t answer the call!” Because it is a scammer! So please don’t answer it it takes money away unless you have free international minutes which is very rare but still if you do have them don’t answer them.
Carlos I
June 04, 2019
I received a call from number 410 999 00 56 saying they are from the SSA asking me for my name, DBO and SSN I hung up the call, stay alert.
Carlos I
June 04, 2019
I received a call from number 410 999 00 56 saying they are from the SSA asking me for my name, DBO and SSN I hung up the call, stay alert.
Anju gupta
June 25, 2019
Hi,, I have received calls from these no. +1(785)-6790215, +1(786) -9030749, +923417778469 They told me "I won a lautry".. And whatapp me A msg for the code... Plz help me out. What to do.. And take action against them. My other family members also received calls from these no.
June 27, 2019
Just got called from 1 414 600 1880, stating I am being sued, and i need to call them back... The name they gave wasnt mine, but was someone I am in litigation against...luckily they clled me HIS NAME, so i knew it was a scam.
July 02, 2019
This odd number called me .. 4174-278-10-72
July 18, 2019
I received a text message which had a voice mail attached from area code 205-509-9976 telling me my bank would be charged 799.99 because my computer maintenance would expire. message said to call 1-831-263-5975 to cancel. I did not call but did check my bank.
July 25, 2019
I have just been called on this number this morning saying they are HMRC investigating tax fraud.
August 08, 2019
Another of these numbers is 674-666-0330. This one rings twice and indicates it is coming from North America, it is not.
August 08, 2019
i keep getting this on my mob, they ring twice, cant find anything on the net, but the prefix is Eastern states Sydney , NSW, CAN, ACT, have not rung back as i have no idea who this is number is 02 91374540, they ring nearly every morning, i dont know anyone in these places so......
August 09, 2019
I keep getting these one ring calls at 2 and 3 in the morning. Your heart stops when the phone rings in the middle of the night like that cause no one calls just to "Chat" at the time, it's always something bad. But this call is from France, 33-825-93-71-66. I don't call back cause I don't know anyone in France and if I did they would know better than to call in the middle of the night and would leave a message. So Annoyed!!
Mesa girl boss
August 09, 2019
I received multiple calls from Poland today. The number changes. I don't answer because I'm smarter then them. I blocked both numbers but they'll call with a new one Im sure of it. The calls today were from +48 (0) 74 522 48 and +48 (0) 54 283 06. I know people in Poland lol but I know they;re not calling me out of the blue. Duh! Someone catch these wastes of life.
August 20, 2019
Got Call from +852470758750 its swiss number ...looks like a scam
September 05, 2019
Received a call from the number 1 855 151 8382 3 times. All calls were 1 ring length so I googled the number and found this site.
Réveillé Après Midi
September 08, 2019
+33 891 06 32 66 woke me after midnight.
Tyler Mosley
September 08, 2019
I've been getting calls from the number 33 6 00 14 21 90. is this a valid number at all even?
September 10, 2019
I thought this article said they targeted cell phones. I am getting called on my land line. So I guess people should be aware regardless which device these calls are being made to. Technology is great but sometimes it just adds more problems.