YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you are not careful, one phone call on your cell phone could end up costing you $20 or more.
The Better Business Bureau is calling it the One Ring phone call.
Across the nation, consumers are getting calls with Caribbean area codes where the caller only lets the phone ring once. When the cell owner calls back, they are billed $19.95 for the international call.
The cell owner may also hear music, then advertising while they are unknowingly connected to a caller-paid toll service or chat line, charging about $9 per minute.
“What we are finding out is these companies overseas are set up as businesses, and they are actually receiving money from these phone calls,” said Melissa Ames, marketing director with the Better Business Bureau. “The longer they keep you on the line, the more money they’re making. And in the end, the consumer is being charged.”
The Caribbean area codes that have been reported include: Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284), Grenada (473), and Dominica (767).
The process is known as “cramming.” If you get one of these calls, alert your cell provider right away, and continue to check your cell phone bill.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid being a victim of the fraudulent calls:
- When in doubt, don’t pick up or call back. If you don’t recognize an out-of-state number on your caller ID, ignore it.
- Understand your mobile bill. Be sure to keep track of what services you pay for, so will know when charges are unauthorized.
- Keep a close eye on monthly statements.
- Add restrictions to your account. Contact your provider to see if you can restrict third-party billing on your account.
- Inform other users on your mobile plan about the one ring issue.