Scam targeting cell phones

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9 Call for Action)--Your cell phone rings only once. You check caller ID and don't recognize the phone number but you return the call. When you call back you get an operator who asks you to stay on the line, you hold not realizing that you have called an international phone number and have just incurred an expensive phone call. You have been scammed!

It works this way, using call generators with automated spoofing, crooks place calls to large numbers of cell phones in the U.S. and then hang up after one ring. If you return the call you will be billed for an international call. The longer you stay on the line the higher the charge. U.S. telephone companies are required to pay a fee to transfer calls to a foreign country and the payment is shared with the crooks.

MORE: WUSA9 Call for Action

Most consumers don't realize they are calling an international number because the calls come from countries that are part of the North American Numbering Plan (NAMP). Calls to these numbers do not require 011 to be dialed, as is the case with other international numbers. This plan is for Canada, the U.S. and its territories and some Caribbean countries.

Protect yourself from this type of scam. Check it out before you return the call. You can find information on area codes that are involved in these schemes here.

Telephone companies in the United States are charged when a return call is made because they are required to pay a fee to transfer calls to foreign countries. The payment is then shared with the fraudster who spoofed the calls. This is referred to as IRSF.


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