‘Do Not Call Them Back’: FCC Warns of West Africa ‘One Ring’ Robocall Scam

May 8, 2019 Updated: May 13, 2019

Has your phone been ringing in short bursts in the middle of the night lately, and you don’t seem to recognize the number? On no account answer it, as it is highly likely a scam call. If you do answer, unbeknown to you, you will be slugged with a high-toll charge, and receive an inflated phone bill.

Recently, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning people about calls, originating from Sierra Leone, called, “one ring” or “Wangiri”—which comes from Japan where the scam originated years ago and means one-ring-and-cut. (One ring and done.)

These calls are focusing on specific areas; they may ring your number many times but hang up after one or two rings. The reason your phone only rings for a short time is that these robocallers are banking on you becoming curious and calling them back.

When you do, they extract a toll from your phone account. The calls, predominately with a 222 or 232 country code, originate from Sierra Leone or Mauritania in West Africa. Residents from North Texas have been receiving the calls recently, and Plano Police Department officer David Tilley said he had at least five of these calls, including one at 4:50 a.m., according to Fox News.

“Now what can you do you might ask? Well, about all I can tell you is if you receive a call from a number that begins with 222 or 232, DO NOT ANSWER and DO NOT CALL BACK. This system works similar to 900 numbers so if you call the number back, you will be charged for the call,” Tilley wrote on the department’s Facebook page.

The FCC has the same advice, saying consumers should not call back late-night unknown callers, especially those that originate with the West African country code of 222. “These calls are likely trying to prompt consumers to call the number back, often resulting in per-minute toll charges,” they added. “Consumers should not call these numbers back.”

Hence, the longer you stay on the call, the more you end up being charged. According to NBC 5, in some situations, these robocallers will leave voice messages about an urgent situation such as a sick relative or cashing in on a prize, further urging you to call back.

Chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai tweeted: “In addition to #robocalls from Mauritania’s 222 country code, consumers should be on the lookout for unknown, late-night calls from Sierra Leone (country code 232) or elsewhere. Do not call them back!”

According to news reports, New York state and Arizona have been widely reporting these calls. “Advances in technology allow massive amounts of calls to be made cheaply and easily,” the FCC said. “In addition, spoofing tools make it easy for scammers to mask their identity.”

“The FCC is working to combat scam calls with enforcement actions, a strong push for caller ID authentication, and support for call blocking tools,” it assured in a press statement.

Even though the calls are being made from overseas, they can imitate phone numbers from the United States. “International revenue share fraud is when fraudsters intentionally drive phone calls to premium rate phone numbers,”  Tim Prugar, the vice president of operations at Next Caller, a real-time verification technology company, said. “These fraudsters get a kickback from the call,” according to the New York Times.

Alluding to those behind the robocalls, Prugar said, “They put 100 million calls out and they know 1 percent converts into sales.”

“Just by sending those phone calls, they are going to get one million people, at least,” he further added.

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Sierra Leone phone scam running across the country. We talked about phone scams a lot in the past. There is one that is going on across the country right now you need to know about. #PhoneScam Now what can you do you might ask? Well, about all we can tell you is if you receive a call from a number that begins with 222 or 232, DO NOT ANSWER and DO NOT CALL BACK. This system works similar to 900 numbers so if you call the number back, you will be charged for the call. Unfortunately, blocking the number doesn’t always work either because they change numbers. The only constant we are seeing is the Country Code being either 222 or 232. Please pass this information along to your friends and family and we have attached a link from a WFAA story so you can read more about this scam: https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/fcc-warns-of-one-ring-call-back-scam/507-d991fa1d-c64d-410a-a05f-6abfc7ddac8d Be safe out there!

Bài viết do PlanoPoliceDept (@planopolicedept) chia sẻ vào

In April, according to robocall blocking service YouMail, Americans received 4.9 billion robocalls, or 163.5 million calls per day. Applications have been developed to help stop such calls, and new technology is being developed by phone companies.

Apart from not answering these calls, consumers can block international calls and check phone bills for any unknown amounts. It is better to be safe than sorry.

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