You've heard of robocalls and text message scams, but just when you thought it was safe to answer your phone, there's a new scheme that's surfaced.
The Better Business Bureau is issuing a nationwide alert on a "one ring" scam, which is just a new version of an old trick.
It all starts with a ring--usually just one. Bonnie Johnson got the call.
"The other day I came home and my phone rang once, it was a missed call, I didn't pick up and then I was curious so I Googled the number," Johnson said.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Johnson did the right thing by going to Google to find out more about the 473 Grenada area code where the call originated.
"They have these computer generated dialers that are dialing hundreds of thousands of numbers a day. You're going to have this one ring on your cell phone and that's it. You look at it, you get curious and you call it back and that's where they get you," Jessie Schmidt of the Better Business Bureau said.
Get you by having you call a premium rate number that connects you to anything from advertising, to music, to psychics, even pornography. The longer you stay on the line, the more charges rack up on your phone bill.
"Providers are trying to stop this as well, because it's costing them every bit as much as it's costing you. So they are doing a lot to block this," Schmidt said.
Since the scam originates overseas, the international phone numbers aren't regulated by U.S. law and the scammers make the numbers difficult to trace. The inflated charges can run into the hundreds of dollars.
If you've already returned such a call, make sure you let your phone carrier know right away and then keep a close eye on your bill. The sooner you let the company know you're a victim of fraud, the better the chances are of having some or all of the charges taken off. But the best thing to do if your phone rings and you don't recognize the number, is don't answer and don't call the number back.
Another familiar scam is also making its way around KELOLAND again, this time in the form of a text message. Our viewers have reported getting a text message saying that their debit card has been deactivated and that they need to go to a website to take care of the problem. This is much like the robocall scam using the Wells Fargo name that went around last year, except it's in the form of a text. Don't respond, but you can forward it to Wells Fargo at firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.