That late-night telephone call you just got that amounted to one ring – don’t call back.
The Federal Communications Commission has issued an alert to consumers about a new wave of “One Ring” robocalls after “widespread overnight calling” in the states of New York and Arizona.
These recent “One Ring” calls attempt to bait consumers into calling the number back, which can result in you being billed toll charges as if you called a 900 number. The calls are also known as “Wangiri” – the term means “one ring and done” in Japanese, so labelled after the scam originated there years ago.
Robocallers typically call specific area codes repeatedly, often late at night. The latest wave of calls, the FCC says, are using the “222” country code of the West African nation of Mauritania. “This is a concerning trend and consumers should not call back if they receive such calls,” deputy press secretary Will Wiquist said.
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Other public officials have taken to Twitter to warn consumers. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich tweeted this week about the robocalls, saying, “DO NOT call back. Scammers hope you’ll call back so they can pocket the cost of the expensive phone call.”
Similarly, the Lafourche (Louisiana) Parish Sheriff’s Office tweeted Friday, “Many people in our area received international calls last night. … DO NOT call back.”
This is not the first time “One Ring” robocalls have surged in the U.S. Another wave hit three years ago; in that case, calls came from area codes connecting callers to the Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands and Jamaica.
Beyond not calling back the numbers, the FCC has other consumer tips:
•You can file a complaint with the FCC if you received these calls at www.fcc.gov/complaints
•If you never make international calls, consider asking your provider to block outgoing international calls to prevent accidental toll calls.
•Check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize.
•If you are billed for a call you made as a result of this robocall scam, try to resolve the matter with your phone company. If that fails, file a complaint with the FCC.
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Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.