Local woman says she was a victim of 'one-ring' cell phone scam - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Local woman says she was a victim of 'one-ring' cell phone scam

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WASHINGTON -

It's a FOX 5 follow up on a widespread scam that is sweeping the country. Con artists sneaking unauthorized charges onto people's phone bills and all it takes is one ring.

The Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and attorney generals across the U.S. have put out warnings about the “one-ring” cell phone call scam that is affecting up to one million Americans a day.

Aggie Nteta says she was a victim and learned first-hand that these calls can be costly.

When the call from an unfamiliar number came in on her cell phone, Nteta didn't answer. She was at a birthday lunch for a friend. But as a foster parent with a new case pending, she thought given the circumstances, she would call back.

“I don't really remember what happened when I called,” she says “I said, ‘I don't know what this is’ and I hung up the phone.”

She didn't think anything of it until she got her Verizon bill. She was charged $75.62 for calls she says were fraudulent.

“I said, ‘Well, I'm not paying for calls I didn't make,’” Nteta says. “Because at the time, I didn't understand what had happened.”

Here is how the scam works. Using automatic dialers, the scammers randomly call phone numbers. One ring and they disconnect. They are hoping curiosity will prompt you to call back. If you do, then they got you.

Officials say the numbers look like a U.S. exchange, but they are actually coming from Caribbean islands.

Scammers make their money when a victim pays their cell phone bill. Your carrier then unknowingly pays out the per-minute charges to a bogus company.

The call Nteta got was from a 767 number.

We tried to call the number from a phone in the FOX 5 newsroom, but it would not allow the outgoing call because it's an international call.

We also googled the number and found pages of consumer complaints, indicating Nteta is not alone.

She paid her cell phone bill minus the 75.62 for the fraudulent calls. Verizon has suspended her service.

In an online chat with Verizon this week, a representative named Kara wrote: “I am aware of the issue ... since the number is not in the U.S. the call is not included in the plan and thus the charges appear on the bill."

Nteta says Verizon finally agreed to waive half the cost of the fraudulent calls.

“I said half is not acceptable,” she says. “I'm not going to accept that.”

“This story needs to be told. I said I’ll be in touch with whoever will listen because as a loyal customer, I don't think that you care about me.”

If you get a call from a number you don't know, do not call back. Google the number first to see if it's suspicious.

If you think you're a victim, try to resolve the charges with your cell phone carrier. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with the FTC or FCC.

We reached out to Verizon and they say they take all customer concerns seriously and are looking into it.

This story has received a lot of attention on our Facebook and Twitter pages and a lot of you are talking about it. We encourage you to let us know if you are a victim.

LINKS:

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/one-ring-wireless-phone-scam


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