If you receive a missed call on your cell phone from a number that you don’t recognize, you may want to think twice about calling it back. Ocean County officials are warning cell phone users everywhere about a costly scam.
Officials say the “one-ring phone scam” involves the perpetrators using auto-dialing computer programs to call phones all over the country. The scammers let the phone ring once and then hang up, causing a missed call notification to show up on the victim’s cell phone. Victims who call the number back are then connected to a paid “adult entertainment service” located overseas.
Officials say the victims are then charged up front a $19.95 international call fee and then as much as $9 per minute or more for the service. Some scammers charge minimal fees to avoid suspicion but those cases are few, according to investigators.
Officials say the calls normally originate from outside the United States and show area codes from 268,809, 876, 284 and 473.
Officials advise cell phone users to ignore any missed or out of state phone calls that you don’t recognize, especially those with the aforementioned area codes. You should also check your cell phone bill for any unwarranted charges.
“If your curiosity does get the best of you, and you have to know, Google the number first,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari said. “It might save you a hefty phone charge.”
If you believe you were the victim of a scam or would like more info, call the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs at 732-929-2105.