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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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March 02, 2014
I've been getting these calls morning, noon and night, 7 days a week since I used my phone on a wireless network at a local coffee shop. It's been going on for three months now and will not stop. These phone calls are not only annoying but my cell phone provider keeps telling me the only solution is to change my number. I can't because it's a business phone and I do get calls from folks I don't know. My mail box is filling up with these silent voicemail messages. Blocking is useless because they use a different number every time. Takes all the joy out of having a cell phone...
March 10, 2014

In reply to by peggy

I'm not getting the number of calls you are (knock on wood), but the ones I get are incredibly annoying. I've always avoided answering calls for which the number/area code isn’t familiar, and I've been particularly vigilant for the last couple years, as scammers have amped up their cell phone-related crime. However, corporations need to make some adjustments to their business practices in this new reality. I ordered clothing for my mom from, and 3 weeks later, she still hadn't received it. The company was sitting on the order because they were concerned about the disparity between the mailing and billing addresses. Apparently, they had phoned me, but a reverse search of the number was from an unidentifiable residential landline in Texas. No way was I going to activate that voicemail. If Roaman's is going to alert people via telephone and snail mail (they claimed to have also sent a postcard), instead of the more logical solution of email, they should ensure that the phone number can be readily identified as theirs, not an unidentifiable residence in Pig's Snout, Texas.
March 05, 2014
I've just received a call from what sounded like a little boy asking who I was from the #786-359-6237. I hung up, but they called back three times.
March 05, 2014
I don't understand how they make money from this. It seems to me that the phone companies would be the only ones who would benefit. How can anyone other than a phone company bill you for phone calls?
March 10, 2014

In reply to by DJ

It's similar to those late night TV ads for phone sex services, the ones that cost $5.99 for the first three minutes, and $1.99 for every minute after. At first, callers had to give credit card info. But when phone companies began to realize they were missing out on a lucrative revenue stream, they marketed special toll call numbers to the phone sex services: in return for a hefty percentage, the phone companies would bill the customer directly for the phone sex calls, listing them with all other toll (long-distance) calls the customer had made. The services readily agreed to the arrangement, realizing that credit card transactions not only killed the mood for some callers, but also gave them a chance to rethink & hang up before the call clock started. Less call loss meant more profit, as did eliminating the need for employees for billing, so the services were still making a lot of money, even after phone companies took their share. BTW, phone companies market this arrangement for other types of phone-based services, such as psychic readings, social networking, gaming/ gambling, etc. It's been very popular with the public, especially in areas of low literacy, and very profitable for the telecommunications industry. What's happening these days is that disreputable entities, often overseas, are making phone calls to people who, once they answer, are connected to some of these phone sex services without their knowledge or permission. Once the connection is established, the call is billed to the person on their regular monthly phone bill. The charges can be astronomical since there is no one there to disconnect the call, and because there can be international toll call charges added.
Emily Frobisher
March 09, 2014
Got my call from 786-204-4358 at 9pm tonight, but knew right away that he has a small appendage, so I didn't answer. Added him to my address book which gives me the ability to block the little [tiny] tike. Folks, don't EVER call any of these numbers back as it is likely a scam that charges $20 for the connection and $10 a minute on your phone bill by keeping you on hold for ever. Sleep well my friends knowing that the fellow with the tiny appendage will soon be wear some steel bracelets. Yes, they made the mistake of calling a police officer. :-)
September 04, 2014

In reply to by Emily Frobisher

I just tried to find out on Vonage website how to block these calls, they do have an "Anonymous Call Block". The issue is that if I use this I am afraid it will also block my friend who moved from out of state to in state but has kept the old cell phone and #. Then they also have a "Block a Phone Number" area and it states that you cannot block a phone # or caller from calling you. I feel like these people are stalkers, isn't there a way to block stalkers from contacting you?
From abroad
March 10, 2014
It seems that these scam calls are not only used on people in the US. The wife (in europe)just got a call for 1 hour ago from this nr: 001 223 456 789 and just the contruction of that nr. made my "warning bells" to glow.
Concerned Citizen
March 10, 2014
A good way for consumers to help themselves is to read and contribute to comments for a particular number at I've used this many times to check for existing complaints about a particular number, and have left additional comments to confirm or refute claims made on that page. (Some commenters are the "sky is falling" type, even when the calling party is legitimate but perhaps unwanted, like a legitimate bill collector.) Keep in mind that this page - and - are just for comments and sharing with others, and will not generate any direct legal action. For that, you must make a formal complaint using the "File a Complaint with the FTC" link at the bottom-right of this page.
From abroad 2
March 11, 2014
I also just got a call from +1 (223) 456-789. Found it here :) I'm in Europe too.
D in Indiana
March 11, 2014
I have a VOIP landline phone which the Telco views as a cell number. I have been getting calls from "Unknown Name" every day now since the beginning of February, sometimes twice a day and once three times. When I answer, the line is dead, no one at the other end. There is never any message on my answering machine. At first, the return ID was from 1-317-497-0282, then they switched to 1-317-623-3488, and are now using 1-317-215-7147. Sometimes, the 1- prefix is dropped. I will never return their call as it might have call forwarding on it to a non-toll-free number who knows where. If they don't stop, I might switch back to a traditional landline phone number.
April 24, 2014

In reply to by D in Indiana

If the number has call forwarding they would be billed for the number it is forwarded to, not you, so you need not worry about that. You should always block your number though if you return a call to an unknown number (usually *67 before the number) to minimize the chances of being added to an active list. *67 does NOT work on any toll-free numbers (they use ANI or Automatic Number Identification, which cannot be blocked), and some VoIP services allow blocked numbers to show up anyway.
D in Indiana
March 11, 2014
Update to my previous comment. Since I have a VOIP phone, I have the ability to block those calls. All I have to do is log into my account and put the number in the Call Blocking box in my profile with my local telco. It is one of the services VOIP provides, without additional charge I believe.
March 12, 2014
Didn't pick up. No voicemail. They have called before with the same story. I won't call back or anything. Thanks for your replies.
March 13, 2014
Many of you will eventually find out that number on your caller ID is a "spoofed" number. These are unused numbers that telemarketers and criminals use via a call spoofing service (e.g. Spoofcard, Spooftel, etc.). The government tried to address this by passing the "Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009". However, this law has very little effect in stopping those that intend to deceive or cause harm to others. My daughter has been stalked and harassed for weeks by someone using this service (she answers phone at work and cannot change this number). She blocks the number only to see another one appear. Law enforcement finds it difficult and time consuming to prosecute because they need to identify the internet spoofing service and subpoena their records. Trust me, this will get much worse before it gets better unless the federal government steps in.
March 14, 2014
My husband received a call on his cell from 786-204-4358 7:19 pm and a Spanish man was on the other end. It is a Florida number and at 7:19 pm here It's 10:19 pm in Miami, FL. Hubby handed me the phone and no one answered me when I said hello repeatedly, they just hung up and I'm not calling that number back. All cell and house phones unlisted and on the do not call list, go figure.
Annie O
March 15, 2014
This 786-204-4358 number seriously called my husbands phone from 11:08 last night until 6:09 am every 2-3 minutes. I called Verizon and got the number blocked.
March 16, 2014
now that we all know it's a scam, why can't cell phone providers just blocked it off from their service as courtesy to their customers?
April 05, 2014

In reply to by concerned

I just chatted with my cell provider and they were able to block the number i mentioned for me, and show me how to do this myself if it happens again (we`ll hafta see). With luck it won`t happen again.
March 17, 2014
same here these spanish calls from 786-204-4358
March 18, 2014
828-919-6798 One ring scam. I use ringback tones so music plays, not a regular ring. I don't answer unknown numbers, so I NEVER call back a hang-up! beware and be smarter than a scammer! Even jerks who spoof numbers steal 800 scam numbers because they are haters of peace.
March 18, 2014
Got a call around 5pm local time from 786-204-4358, then my husband received a call from the same number at around 10:30pm. I missed the call and (so very stupidly) called back, thinking it was a relative in FL. I hung up within seconds, realizing what an incredibly bad idea it was to call back. I don't believe the call had connected, but what should I do?? Should I call my phone company to find out if it connected and charged me? I feel so dumb.
Ms. Heads up
March 19, 2014
I get call like that all the time so I block all numbers that's not in my contact to go to voicemail n if important they leave a message n I call back also since these call are always fake so I won't have that problem they have text apps that can actually get calls n voicemail if you apply for sumn online use the text app number so when u get calls like that you don't have to worry they can call all hours it's not your main number in if it's important they will leave a message that saves you from that problem as well and you can use da app to find out who is calling if it's a scam number no harm done it works on wifi n 3G-4G
March 19, 2014
Just don't answer or call back it's as simple as that. As for blaming cell carriers the cell carriers see the same number as you do the reasoning is because that is what is registered on the tower as the call is transmitting and if caller Id spoofing was used by a auto dialer there is no way to track it so instead of complaining about it just out smart them and not answer it
March 19, 2014
I downloaded a call blocker app. The app is free and takes care of any call i want blocked.
Heads up
March 20, 2014
I have the same numbers calling me one with a (773) area code I block numbers not in my contacts and if I'm using a site online that mite give my number away I created a text app where I can get voicemail and let them call that number 24-7 if I turn my phone off or log out the app I won't even know they called til I log in.
March 22, 2014
yeah, look the number up on google...then get this FTC notice. WHY THE HELL DOES FTC ALLOW IT TO CONTINUE ?????
one ring calls…
March 25, 2014
a company called Performant out of California has called a few times - their number is 2098583500. They claim to be a collection center retrieving debt for the Federal and State Governments - problem here is that I don't owe anything, not a penny...not a dime. they are a scammer.
March 25, 2014
Called over 30 times so far tonight. I hit 1 then got a person that asked me if i spoke spanish. I said no. She said im sorry then hung up. Then continurd to call . Wont stop. I just blocked it. But phone continues to tell me it nlock again and again. Very anoying. Its 11:30 pm. They keep trying to call
March 27, 2014
I get these calls in the middle of the night, one ring hang ups from various different numbers. I have had to turn off my ringer. I hope I don't get any emergency calls. I would block the numbers, but they are always from different numbers. What should I do.
idol hanz
March 27, 2014
So when are the do-nothing slugs down at the FTC going to bust them and deport them? Never! Instead, they will whine for more tax money to do less while claiming ''it's Bush's fault'' and ''you're racist'' for complaining.
March 27, 2014
786-204-4358 just called and I did not hear it right away. I called back and the line was busy. Immediately after I hung up, my cell rang. I just disconnected it immediately.
March 28, 2014
I just received a call from 786-204-4358 and let it go to voicemail. I had a feeling it was one of these scams! My Father received it too and my friend apparently about a week ago. Glad I didn't answer!
April 01, 2014
We have been getting one ring calls for months now on our landline... our landline does not have long distance and no caller id so i had no idea what was going on until i stumbled across this site while looking for information on a different scam... wow, this sucks!
April 01, 2014
I have received quite a few of these type of calls. The most recent one is this: 209-208-6125 Country: USA Location: California I suspect that it is not actually from California, but that it is being "spoofed." It rings only once and then hangs up. Another scam. ~ N
May 18, 2014

In reply to by Nadrakas

I know people ftom california who have that area code, so it may not be spoofed, but it would still not answer it.
April 01, 2014
Anyone ever seen this number? 1253429c454? received repeatedly, never answered, finally ceased. Probably superseded by a not so obvious scam number.
April 02, 2014
I got a call from 786-204-4358 while I was talking on the same phone. I called back, there was only one ring, then hung up. What does it mean?
April 05, 2014
I`m wondering if this is what i just got today, number that called me is 605-475-4619. Did me a reverse lookup via Yellow Pages and found it`s a landline in South Dakota. The voice was Spanish- sounding, and was electronically altered, kinda like what you`d get if you ran your voice through a musical synth. Gotta wonder just whgat`s going on here that`s for sure.
April 05, 2014
I for one will be curious to see if number i mentioned in my previous post will try again, almost called the local PD to see if they could help, no joy there.
April 07, 2014
My friends and i got calls around the same time. In the same hour in fact. It's sort of creepy. How did they get all of us at the same time? It makes me wonder if it's some sort of stalker. If someone has information, please post it. This scam's creeping me out.
April 08, 2014
I was thinking I'd put these numbers on a block list but how many numbers are these scammed using?
April 10, 2014
Well I was dumb enough to answer for (786) 204-4358...recording in spanish. I should know better since this happened to me once on Christmas Day and I was charged 10 bucks...ridiculous. Warn your friends!!
April 10, 2014
Aside from cost everyone money and the phone company making extra money how do the callers make any money? It seems that the phone companies are the only ones who benefit from the scam. What am I missing. What is the online directory web site address to check numbers.
April 11, 2014
I got a call from 216-206-6895 last night at 11:30. I didn't answer and let it go to voice mail. No message. I hope this isn't going to be a regular occurrence...
April 11, 2014
I get calls often, from 786-204-4358. Always in Spanish, but I never call back or push the #'s it requests.
April 11, 2014
Don't answer the phone!!!