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Robo Fraud

May 10, 2016

Think twice before calling back that unknown missed call! Calling back you cost you or your employer money!Cell phones have become a necessity in the work force and almost 35% of mobile phones are provided by employers. Comtex wants to alert you to the resurgence of an old scam that has come back again to haunt cell phone users. It’s currently known as the “one ring scam”.The thief programs a robo-dialer to make calls over the internet that only ring your phone once. If you answer the call, it disconnects. While that isn’t harmful to your pocket, the missed call is meant to pique your curiosity so that you call back the number listed in the caller ID. Bad idea!The caller ID lists a 3 digital area code that appears to be domestic, but in reality it is an international pay-per-call telephone number. Calling one of these numbers will cost you upfront $10 to $30! You think you are calling a local number but you are dialing an international hotline that charges a fee for connecting the call, plus a huge per minute fee for the duration of the call.This scam is reminiscent of the old “809” area code trick that enticed you to call a foreign telephone number to claim your prize or help out a family member. The con artists obtain a block of these phone numbers. When you return the call, you hear music playing or listen to a long advertisement for services. The longer you wait, the more money the thief earns.Some area codes to look out for are (284), (876), (473), (268), and (809). A way to avoid this scam is to let any unidentified caller go to voice mail so you can determine if it is legitimate before you return the call. You can also Google the phone number to see if anyone posted it as being connected to a scam. Of course, the best solution is to only return calls from identified numbers.There are other variations of this scam that include automatically signing you up for fake services that will be added to your cell phone bill without your knowledge or permission. While there are warnings that this scam can also allow the thief to steal your contact or financial information, there is no evidence that is possible. They would have to hack into your phone to obtain any information; clicking on a link in an email or text. The mere act of dialing a telephone number should not compromise this data.It is good practice to always review your cell phone bills for “mysterious” charges. The sooner you discover the fraudulent charges, the easier it is to get a credit. Another suggestion is to speak with you cell phone carrier and ask them to block all international calls. Be careful, not all carriers consider the Caribbean or the Dominican Republic an international call. Discuss your concerns with the carrier and seek the best way to inhibit these types of calls.

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