Skip to main content

(View or share the YouTube version of this video.)


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.


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Jacob Harding
April 12, 2014
If you have a pay-as-you-go cell phone then there is no danger in calling back....right?
April 13, 2014
I got a call from 786-204-4358 while in church this morning. After church, I Googled the number and found this blog. I emailed this link to my family and friends. Thanks for the info!
April 13, 2014
We should all start calling the providers and demand them to block the number nationwide.Let's do it all together . they are going to be so busy that they won't be able to take care of costumers who have normal problems not like this major one.Then they will finally do smth about it.
April 14, 2014
Keep getting a call from +504 9711 9742 What is this?
April 14, 2014
Just got a call from (786) 204-4358 rang twice and no voicemail was left! I will definitely not call back
April 15, 2014
9:22 on the west coast, got a call from 786-204-4358...I don't know anyone in Florida...gonna put a block on it...thanks to everyone for posting their experiences
April 15, 2014
This number 7862044358 called my mothers cell phone then an hour later my dads cell phone. I told them not to answer it. Wish there was a way to stop these people. 90 percent of my phone calls are these type of scam numbers
Johnathon Jones
April 15, 2014
I just got a call as well, didn't call back. If this really is a scam, what exactly are these people getting out of ripping people off? I can't imagine they get paid for having someone on the line. Maybe people who have something against you add you to a list for revenge or something.
April 15, 2014
I had a missed call from that 786-204-4358 number on my cell phone today. I did a Google search and found a lot of information about how it was a scam call and how some people were harassed by it. I am on the "Do Not Call List," too, but people like this don't even take that into consideration....
April 15, 2014
I just got a phone call from this number, but I did NOT answer it. I do NOT answer any numbers I don't know. They let it ring 4 times, hung up, and then called back again and let it ring another 4 times. Its a robo dialer. Don't let it bother you folks, just ignore and go on. You are letting them win by griping about the idiots. Life is too short. And they apparently have NO life to speak of.
Demand Congres…
April 16, 2014
Has anyone written their representatives in Congress? Because the real issue is that "spoofing" a phone number is perfectly legal. You cannot even answer your own phone anymore and now, you cannot even answer your cell phone either. Write your elected reps in Congress and demand they make spoofing phone numbers illegal! They are legitimizing telemarketing fraud by allowing this. Any reason to allow spoofed phone numbers had by now been overshadowed by rampant phone fraud. Demand they stop it NOW!
ATT Scam
April 17, 2014
We get continued robo-call phishing scam calls from various 800 numbers. They even leave recorded messages to call back for an ATT $500 gift card. AT&T has been no help. I can't even get them to block the 800 area code on our phones.I guess they make more money from the "phishers" than the "phishees".
April 17, 2014
Why not spoof them back with a on line web site and keep doing it until they get SICK of it and at same time u can record their stupid voices !
April 18, 2014
This is the first time I got a call on my cellphone and I am glad I looked it up. Thank you Google. How can we stop these scammers once and for all!!
April 20, 2014
I received a call from 786-204-4358 several evenings in row. I do not answer it and there is no message. This number has been calling my landline too....wish it would stop. :(
Big Willy
April 21, 2014
I got a call from 786-204-4358 today. I didnt answer or call back. I hope the police catch these idiots!
April 22, 2014
Those people are jerks
Rome, Ga.
April 22, 2014
I have been getting calls from these numbers.. 202-666-8460, 619-489-0302, 202-556-5522, 458-785-54655(this one had extra number in it.. but didn't call it)
Rome, Ga.
April 22, 2014
I have been getting calls from these numbers.. 202-666-8460, 619-489-0302, 202-556-5522, 458-785-54655(this one had extra number in it.. but didn't call it)
Rome, Ga.
April 22, 2014
I have been calls from these numbers..202-556-5522 4-587-855-4655(extra number.. didn't call back) 619-489-0302 202-666-8460 931-378-7819 678-260-3571....678-260-3869&3569 619-478-6153 323-489-7500 678-767-1888... I added all these to my reject list... so they couldn't come through.
April 24, 2014
I just received the call, picked up, said hello & I get someone speaking Spanish. I don't speak Spanish but I did recognize the word ocho.. I hung up after I didn't get a response. I am going to add them to my block list. I have an Android
April 24, 2014
I just received a call from a 13 digit number....googled it and found nothing. Anybody heard of 8615906546373?
April 24, 2014
Has anyone ever heard of receiving a call from a 13 digit number - 8615906546373. I received a call from this number tonight.
a username
May 07, 2014

In reply to by lac4150

Country code 86 is China according to They have phones all over the world now.
smart guy
April 26, 2014
Before receiving this call did any one of you make a blocked call too any government office or law firm?
smart guy
April 26, 2014
Before receiving this call did any one of you make a blocked call too any government office or law firm?
April 26, 2014
unknown caller ,, did not answer ... no message left
Seattle, WA
April 26, 2014
I just got a call from this number. Never usually get random calls from Florida.
April 27, 2014
I got a call from (786) 204-4358 FL, USA at 3:05 p.m. I just declined because if it's important, they can leave a message. If you get a call from this number don't answer! Just ignore it and then if you have an iPhone, block the number.
April 27, 2014
There's hope. If calling that number results in a message from your wireless carrier. Something stating that the number is blocked. And briefly why. Details availalbe via link or text. This is technologically possible 45 years after the moon landing. And there's even a federal trade commission that could regulate it.
April 27, 2014
This is a phone scam run by the Mexican Cartels. If you answer on a smartphone, it downloads program that allows them to see you through phone camera anytime. Block the number and don't answer. Your money will only supply the Cartel.
April 29, 2014
So, this 786-204-4358 called in February (2014) and I didn't answer, didn't call back. No problems. Forward to three days ago (April 26) and I receive a pic/media message. My cell phone service and phone (not sure which is 'guilty' of the following) will not allow you to see the sender until you 'retrieve' the message. Thinking this is an expected pic of a family member, I retrieve message... only to be told I have a data balance of 'zero' which I know is definitely NOT true (have never used even 25% of data allotment, and new air/balance time had just kicked in on the 23rd... in other words, basically full data allotment should have been available). I send a few regular texts to ask my usual senders of pic mail if they'd sent something, etc. -- no one recalls sending a message around that time. Look at my call history and... 'that' number is listed as calling twice on that day, same time as that 'stamped' on the mysterious message that no one I've asked (about 7-8 folks) claims to have sent. This can't be merely coincidence, can it? More importantly, what can be done to prevent this from happening in future (in addition to more vigilance on my part)?
April 30, 2014
Just got a call from 786-204-4358. Ignored. No message.
April 30, 2014
The 786-204-4358 number rang on my phone, and I didn't answer it because I thought it was another scam: the East Indian job recruiting boiler room people, where they use Skype to look as if they're calling from within the U.S. Because I got way too many emails and calls from them, I didn't even bother to call back. If someone with an Indian name emails and/or phones you about a job opening, it just might be someone from those Mumbai or Calcutta boiler rooms.
John White
May 12, 2014

In reply to by CraneWing

There is no harm in checking out whether it is a genuine call or not, no matter from where the call is being made. If there is something fishy like asking for your details, then do not respond.
April 30, 2014
Phone rang. Checked Caller ID. Didn't recognize the number. Didn't answer. Done. No muss. No fuss. Not much time taken up with nonsense. Didn't pick up to let the caller(s) know that it was a viable number. Didn't listen to find out what accent was used or what the purpose of the call was. Didn't care then. Don't care now. Didn't get upset if the DNC was adhered to (I'm on it but scammers, who don't follow the DNC guidelines, will find ways to get around it) or what Obama is going to do about it. I have a life and instead of getting bent out-of-shape, morally indignant, cursing and slamming the phone down, and making this a big deal (instead of the small irritant that I choose to make it), I move on with my life. I'm in charge of what takes up my time. That's just what I do. Simple. More power for me and for you, if you follow my lead, right? P.S. The DNC IS working; otherwise, calls from legitimate charities, political action committees, annual fundraising, and other businesses that ARE following would be calling, also.
concerned in IN
May 01, 2014
It's hard to believe this number is still going strong. Just got a missed call from this number. I'm in IN, but have a NY number. I'm glad this blog post was here.
J in Houston
May 01, 2014
Yep, they are calling 832 numbers...
John Smith
May 01, 2014
Lol @ Sophrosyne! Wow..How many comments did you read?!?
May 04, 2014
Just received a call, in Spanish, from this number. Calling husband now to tell him to add the 'block' on his phone.
May 06, 2014
Started right after I gave my phone to optical department at local retailer, that starts with Sea_ and ends with s. Never answer.
Howard E. Dowdy
May 07, 2014
The warnings are legitimate. The FTC, BBB and other legitimate sources in the United States have issued warnings about the scam. The scammers use auto-dialers to call cell phones and hang up after one ring in the hope that people will call back. If you receive one of these one ring calls do not call back. Refer to the detailed analysis below for more information about this scam.
May 08, 2014
If the phone company won't resolve the do we know they're not "in-on-it?'
Ben Ro
May 08, 2014
I just got a call from 786-204-4358 - didn't answer in time. When I called back, my cat died.
May 11, 2014
What if I actually picked up the "one ring" call? I answered the call, and just heard a "beep" before they hung up (the call only lasted 4 seconds). I did not call the number back though, since I ended up looking it up and found this page. Do I need to be worried at all?
May 11, 2014
I got a call from 786 204 4358 and then my couch started on fire.
erica davis
May 12, 2014
I got that scam call and I'm:253.
May 14, 2014
There are so many apps which can help us to track the sender location. So download it now.
madder than a …
May 15, 2014
...would like to kick their a$$..... pretty bad when this is what you choose to do for a dollar... get a real job!!!!!!! bunch of loosers!