There’s a new phone scam targeting Santa Clarita residents, and it’s been dubbed the “one-ring scam.”
While the name may make it sound like something straight out of the pages of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel, it’s origins are, unfortunately, based in the real world.
The scam is titled such because an auto-dialer will call a phone number and allow the phone to ring one time, just enough to leave a “missed call” notification and a number for the recipient to dial back; and the scammers are hoping their victims will do just that.
When the number is called from a victim’s phone, it rings an adult entertainment service based outside the US that immediately charges a $19.95 international call penalty, as well as up to $9 per minute of the phone call.
The “one-ring scam” is a lot like the phishing scams hackers use on people’s emails. They know that not every call they make will generate a call back, but some will. Dial enough people and the individuals who choose to call the number back can generate a decent sum of money for the scammers.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has stated that the majority of the calls are coming from outside the US from the 268, 809, 876, 284 and 473 area codes. They’re also advising the public to be careful when returning phone calls from unfamiliar numbers.
While it goes without saying that the area codes listed above should be avoided, it might be wise, as a general rule, to only call back the numbers of people that you know, or at least those who leave messages.
According to deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station, those who feel they have been the victims of a phone scam should contact ic3.gov as well as their cell phone company.