AUSTIN (KXAN/ NBC) — The Federal Communications Commission is warning of a new phone scam and they say, don’t call back!
There has been a surge of robocalls from the 222 and 232 country codes that could hit consumers with toll charges if they call the number back. Many Texans are reporting receiving calls from Sierra Leone, according to a report from the NBC affiliate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The scam is known as the “One Ring” or “Wangiri” scam. Here’s how the scammers work:
— First, you will get a call where your phone rings once and then stops. The call usually comes in the overnight hours.
— The same call may repeat several times in a row. The scammer is betting you’ll be concerned about waking up to repeated calls and will call the number back to see what’s going on.
— If a caller does call back, the trap is sprung. Calling back works like a 1-900 number, running up a huge toll charge that you will see on your next phone bill. The longer you stay on the call, the more it could cost you.
— In some cases, the phone call may go beyond one ring and the scammers will leave you a voice mail message urging you to call back regarding an urgent situation like collecting a prize or providing information about a sick relative.
The country code 222 is from the West African nation of Mauritania and the 232 country code is from Sierra Leone.
The FCC advises in general, you should never call a number back if you don’t recognize the number. You can also check the area code to see if it’s an international number. Ask your phone service provider to block outgoing international calls if you don’t want to make any.
If you’re billed for a call as a result of this scam, the FCC asks that you first try to resolve it with your phone service provider. If needed, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
If you’re getting these harassing phone calls, you can file a complaint with the FCC’s National Do Not Call Registry.