SCAM ALERT: The One Ring Phone Scam - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SCAM ALERT: The One Ring Phone Scam, Calling Back Could Cost You

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SPOKANE, WA - Have a missed call from a number you do not recognize? If so, calling it back could cost you. That is the case with this latest phone scam targeting thousands called the "one ring scam."

Every month there seems to be a new scam, but each one is a little different. This latest one is unique because it does not raise the normal red flags like someone who barely speaks English asking you to send them money. Instead, this scam uses a missed call and the fact that barely anyone leaves voicemails anymore to make people become victims.

"The interesting piece is that it was happening in such mass communications, hundreds of thousands of people receiving these one or two phone calls," said Chelsea Maguire with the Better Business Bureau.

So here is how it works. First, the scammer obtains your number and calls it. However, scammer only stays on the phone long enough to let it ring once or twice, and then they hang up. It will then show up as a missed call on your phone. The hope is that you will call it back wondering who it was and that is when the trouble starts.

"It would have some sort of recording that would keep you on the phone for a long period of time, you know, saying please hold while we try to get someone to answer your call," Maguire said.

While you wait on hold, in some cases the scam charges you $9.00 a minute and sometimes $20 just to make the call. So, how do they get your phone number in the first place?

"That information is easily marketed and sold in the black market and in legitimate markets, so who knows, phone numbers are easily attained," Maguire said.

The area codes look like the call was made from the United States, but instead it is an international call that will rack up charges with your phone carrier.

"The weird thing about this one is that it just has malicious harm against the people who call the number back and we can't figure out how scammers benefit from it," Maguire said.

It is such a strange scam because for now, we don't know how the people behind it are making any money off of it. The Better Business Bureau also says that depending on your phone carrier, they may get rid of the fees if you explain what happened.

However, just to be safe and to protect yourself, screen your calls and check the number before calling it back.

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