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Growing concern over new cell phone scam

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 12:00 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO — Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly wireless statement.

It's called the "One Ring" scam because the scammers program computers to send thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once and then disconnect. The scammers then hope you are curious enough about the call that you return the call right away.

"As of yet, we have not had any complaints filed but given how rapidly this scam is spreading and growing across the country, our opinion is it won't be long." said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

When the cell phone owner returns the call, they are charged $19.95 for the international call fee. After that, there is a $9 per minute charge. "Often they will first hear music then maybe advertising, but it's easy to see how quickly these charges can add up," noted Bernas.

Consumers who have been duped by these calls report they are coming from the Caribbean Islands including Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands.

If a person thinks they may have fallen for this scam, they should immediately alert their cell phone carrier and keep an eye on their cell phone bill. The earlier they document the fraud, the better their chances of having some or all of the charges removed.

Bernas added, "To be as safe as possible the best thing to do if your phone rings and it's an international number you don't recognize, don't answer, and don't call back"

For more information on scams, go to www.bbb.org.

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