It sounds like something straight out of “Lord of the Rings” but there is nothing entertaining about the new “One Ring” robocall scheme, says the Federal Communications Commission.
Here’s the scam: Your phone rings just once in the middle of the night and the caller leaves no message. Panicked you may have missed an emergency call, you call the number back. Or maybe you get a recording and you stay on the phone trying to decipher what the recording is saying. Oops. That’s how they get you.
Little do you know you have been connected to a line with high interconnect fees, similar to calling a 900 number, and a massive phone bill is on its way.
These types of tricky robocalls, also referred to as a wangiri scam, which is Japanese for “one ring and cut,” often come from a 222 country code from the West African nation of Mauritania.
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Robocalls are one of the banes of modern living. In August of 2018, Americans were besieged with a record 148.8 million intrusive automated messages — per day — according to YouMail, a robocall blocking service that collects and analyzes data. That’s 1.6 calls per second, or a reported average of 13 calls per person per month, though many people get far more.
The FCC advises that you never call back a phone number you don’t recognize.
You can also check with your wireless phone provider to block outgoing calls to international numbers. And, unless you know folks in Mauritania— exercise caution when dealing with a 222 phone number.