If the number doesn’t ring a bell, hold the phone says the Federal Trade Commission.
Scammers are using auto-dialers to call cell phone numbers across the country just long enough for a missed call message to pop up.
The scammers are hoping the victim calls back thinking it was a legitimate call that got cut off or have a case of curiosity. When the person does they hear something like, “Hello. You’ve reached the operator, please hold.”
The minute the person called back they are being charged a a large international rate. The calls are from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that look like they are from inside the U.S., but actually are from the Caribbean or West Africa.
Some of the area codes include: 222, 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 849 and 876.
The danger is not in getting the call, but scammers are hoping victims call back because the international toll number appears as a charge on phone bills with most of the money going to the scammer.
As a general rule, always check phone bills for suspicious or unusual charges.