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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.

  • 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.

Butch H
October 16, 2014
received on voice mail from 866-976-9501 a scamy message saying "final notice after multiple times to reach you,requiring you to call back in order to cease and desist further action". No names or companies listed
the funny man
October 20, 2014
yeah I hate these people I got a call from them and waited until it charged around 10 dollars
October 21, 2014
Just got a one ring call from (786) 204 4358. I have blocked it
October 30, 2014
Just got one from (786)204-4358
November 04, 2014
just called and burnt my cell phone!! will Not turn on!!!
November 06, 2014
These numbers are not actually in the US even though they are US area codes. They actually connect you to an international number. It's similar to people using Magic Jack to cheat international calls. They have found a way to even make it say a US city on the caller ID. They know how to code and hack obviously. Blocking on the iPhone or android won't help really because they are constantly generating random numbers. I block every call and I get called by a different one every 30 mins or so. I basically just leave my phone on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode and have wifi on so I can receive texts. Hopefully they lessen and will eventually stop. I have even heard if you call back and stay on for a few seconds, they can get your contacts list. That could explain how they keep getting our phone numbers, but not sure how much truth there is behind that.
November 11, 2014
I was in our Pic-Pac last night and a fellow walked in and asked if he could borrow a phone to call his mother (he was directing everyone standing in line and the cashiers). The older cashier told him to you the regular phone in the store, and somehow he did not want to use it. The other/younger cashier asked him to tell her the # and she would dial it for him; it started with 786 (that's all I remember) and that surprised me because our entire state does not have a 786 area code. I hope that his intentions were sincere.
November 27, 2014
I've been having the same problem getting calls from unknown numbers such as 786-420-4568so I decided to google the area code and it doesn't exist these scammers need to get a job and stop trying to take people hard earned money I don't believe that nothing can be done about it how can you put a man on the moon but you cant stop scammers im not buying it!!!
December 02, 2014
Got a call from a 202 number, Washington DC. I didn't think about letting my voice mail get it. When I answered an automated voice says, "Good bye" Any ideas what that was all about?
someone who ha…
December 09, 2014
These number +62 857-2617-0647 has been texting me everyday and want to know everything about me.And there's also an unknown number what I mean is a phone number that I can't see,and this number always calls me midnight.what do I have to do?
December 11, 2014
a person saying they are in florida on vacation, wanting me to send item i had for sale on facebook yard sale ads, to foreign country to their cousin, he said willing to pay more money for me to do that. then continued to ask me over over i had to block them, 612-808-4042 scammer said they pay with paypal. be aware paypal payment
December 11, 2014
a person selling on ebay from utah state never shipped item to me , so when i go research his number it shows me its scammer number his id on ebay is ecoswift and he is scammed alot people by getting info on ebay as a seller and then he get your identity to use it as bill collector over phone, many message about him in net from this number 801-928-9777
December 15, 2014
410 841 4866 is another phone number
December 17, 2014
Thanks for the warning but I'm sorry..why would you call a number back when you have no idea who it is? That just seems like an idiot move and you're asking for it. Reverse phone lookup if you're that interested in where they might be calling from. Also if they didn't leave a voicemail you're stupid for calling them back anyway since you have no idea who or what it might be about. People need to think more.
Feerk Faark
December 22, 2014
Received a call from 210-418-4501 from someone posing as an IRS agent. The caller spoke with a foreign accent and didn't identify who he was trying to reach. The message stated there was a warrant out for my arrest for not paying back taxes, and that I need to call the number right away. Because I do owe back taxes I got concerned and called the number on my land line. Once I got through, there was a recoded message about screwing a camel. I was a little relieved but pissed off nonetheless.
hate those calls
December 29, 2014
if you're getting annoying robo calls, register your phone number with They have servers that screen robocalls and will block them from calling your home. I've had it for one year and it works great.
Avant man
January 06, 2015
Is A1 Solar @ 619-216-0672 a one ring scammer ? Because they never ring more than once and don't leave a message.
January 11, 2015
I never answer the phone when it is a number that I do no know. What I usually do is google the number if there is one on the caller ID, and it gives me some idea who called. It is never anyone I want or need to talk to. I have been getting calls from a private number once or twice a day and they never leave a message. I wish that there was a way to find out who is calling when the caller is either unknown or a private caller.
January 22, 2015
I just got a phone call but couldn't answer it. When i came back to my iphone there was only a three digit number "204". When I called it back it said number you've dialed is incorrect.
had sooo much fun
January 26, 2015
had call from 3606272338 & wanted to give me 6% on credit card...tell me to give #'s & exp # on card--gave phony #'s & after 5/6 repeats of #'s He said that #'s don't work and guess you wrote them down wrong..he says are you messing w/me. & then vulgar talk are having potty mouth & acting bad...should not be on a phone and phone went blank. sure hope he calls again soon as I had so much fun w/this scum, worthless, pathetic piece of work.
January 26, 2015
I keep getting calls from a number in Florida. I have an app that is supposed to just hang up on them but they're getting through to my voicemail still and leaving silent messages. It's not supposed to let the numbers on the block list get to my voicemail but this one is somehow getting through. I get many calls daily from this number. It's not any of the area codes listed above in the article.
January 29, 2015
I have every reason to believe these international scammers are branching out by purchasing actual (mostly small town)local phone access numbers and going thru these to make their scam calls. Many appear to be linked to one particular telecommunication system that has bought out others that went bankrupt or were thought to be involved in fraud. My recommendation is that of many others of you, if you are not sure let it go to voice mail. Even their caller IDs are inviting. Yes, they are also using landlines.
February 06, 2015
On my Verizon cell I am receiving multiple times a day for almost a month calls from 720-608-5687. I don't know this number hence I don't answer it. whoever it is does not leave a message. Still very annoying so I wanted to let everyone I can know not to answer this number. Will be going to Verizon to have it blocked!
February 16, 2015
Getting one ring calls from +216 56 002 010 everyday!!
March 19, 2015
I don't answer numbers I don't know and ones that don't have a name or any ID I don't bother adding them to a list I just don't answer. You could forward those numbers to a number that when they answered the bad caller would hang up and scratch you off their list.
August 03, 2015
Messages currently circulating via social media warn users about a phone scam that can trick people into incurring large phone bills via international phone charges and per-minute fees for "premium" phone services. The warnings explain that scammers are making phone calls and then hanging up after only one ring in the hope that users will return the missed call and be charged accordingly.
What the mess …
September 01, 2015
223 called me and hung up.
February 05, 2016
Am getting calls from +827662638 numbers many time. And that always call at mid night around 11 or 12. And am justing clearing that I have write the correct no it is of 9 digit only and even I checked the country code it is oof South Korean but after the country code it doesn't matched with any ph no. Plz let me know what to do?
February 05, 2016

In reply to by Prince

If you’re getting repeated calls from the same number, your phone company may be able to block that number, but first ask whether there’s a fee for this service.

If you’re getting unwanted calls from a lot of different numbers, look into a call blocking solution. There are online call blocking services, call blocking boxes, and smartphone apps that block unwanted calls. Do an online search to look for reviews from experts and other users, and find out whether the service costs money.

February 25, 2016

I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite certain I'll learn lots of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

Maria T
April 11, 2016
I am receiving calls with proper name ID, but phone number now has 001 in front. Is my caller bluffing the actual number that they are calling from?
May 04, 2016
Getting MULTIPLE calls from VARIOUS area codes - can't even believe how annoying this is. Someone has shared our number under a false name and we are receiving their calls from all over the country!(202, 214, 262, 314, 937, 502, 512, 610, 718, name a few.)
May 27, 2016
Buck shot skillfully administered in an expert and timely fashion could end this type of activity. Anything else is just pissing into the wind.
July 20, 2016
I am getting calls from 3015160 but the area code shows 001 which isn't even an AREA code in the US. This morning I got one call at 3:29AM and another at 3:31AM. I had one yesterday also. One ring only. But this is on my home phone!3701
September 02, 2016

In reply to by jnewellr

001 Area code shows a prefix for Cambodia and Guyana. Scam callers. Block them!
September 17, 2021

In reply to by jnewellr

On a land line phone get a cheap answering machine. Set up with man answering voice to leave message, turn off ringer. They never leave a message!!! Works for me!
July 25, 2016
Question! Are the cellphone-wireless companies, like VeriZon purposely creating or diverting calls to wrong numbers to drive up the subscriber's bills?
Scum Scammers
August 05, 2016
more out of country Phone Lines Being sold By peerless networks in Florida a useless small scam company located in Florida
August 08, 2016
(201) 647-3585
September 02, 2016
Received a call today from 305-204-8629 asking he be called back at a 786 number. It's a scam that will cost you big bucks and the phone company will be of little help in having the charge removed from your bill as they show you made the call.
January 11, 2017
i have returned a call from +226 what will happen to me. . .my return call last for 30secs . . .what will happen to me please help
January 18, 2017
I called a number and it shows potential spam caller.. What does it mean ?
February 07, 2017
I receive calls several times a month from 1 313 555 4267 and after the first time when I picked up and no one was there/disconnect, I called back and when I 555, a oscillating 2 tone signal could be heard and I could never finish the number. The prefix 555 are widely used for fictitious telephone numbers in North American television shows, films, video games, and other media. When I see the number, I quickly pick up and hang up.
Don't use your…
February 17, 2017
they call 1-111-526-3987,calll and call over and dont answer
Ups scam victim
March 07, 2017
Just got a call from 1-876-394-4930 Saying that he was working for UPS I won 2.5 million dollars and a new Mercedes Benz. I was told to write down his name as Sam Williams, my name, the check number he gave me ,UPS, and registration fee amount, lawyer name was to be Mary Smith. Apparently, I had to go to Western Union and send $385.00 to the federal trade commission, and then the lawyer and a security group would escort me to my bank to deposit my check. He didn't know my name so I knew he wouldn't know my address. The phone hung up and be called back twice to get back to me. Scam? I'm not sure but if I'm meant to win money I wouldn't have to pay ,correct? He claimed the money would be to get a gold eagle stamp for my certified check. He even went as far to say be was a deacon in his church, asked if j believed in God, and this is a blessing.
Waiting for ba…
March 13, 2017

A couple of months ago I got a call from the representative of the estate of a wealthy gal who passed away overseas. Although I had trouble understanding his voice, I clearly heard him say that his client wanted a stranger to have the inheritance, and that I was chosen as the heir. I gave the caller my bank account information and my ID, but so far no transfer has been made. What do you think is holding up the 5 million dollars that is supposed to go into my account?

FTC Staff
March 13, 2017

In reply to by Waiting for ba…

If you tell someone your bank account number, they can take money from your account, even if they say they're going to give you money. If you tell them your ID, they can use it for identity theft, like opening up new credit cards in your name.

You may want to change your bank account number, read about what to do if someone has your ID information.


April 02, 2017
+61 410 735 433 Got message from this number to verify your bank details.
April 03, 2017
I keep getting a call from this number 421 221 5654
Possible One-R…
April 05, 2017
I got a one-ring call from 408-228-4486 and I don't know anyone from that area code.