The Federal Communications Commission, also known as FCC, is urging customers to not call back phone numbers that ring once and hang up. Several people throughout the United States have been reportedly receiving “Wangiri” or “One Ring” robocalls in bursts. The calls target specific area codes, often calling multiple times in the middle of the night.
According to the FCC, the calls are most likely to prompt consumers to call back. The robocall will dial a number before hanging up after one or two rings. The caller will repeatedly do this hoping “the consumer calls back and runs up a toll that is later paid to the scammer,” often resulting in per minute toll charges which are similar to a 900 number.
Hiya, the app company that helps people identify if they are receiving a scam call or not, are warning of the dangers of picking up the “Wangiri phone calls.” The company, which claims to analyze more than 13 billion calls a month, state the scammers started appearing in the U.S. since 2013, and have targeted other countries including Scotland, Ireland, and Germany.
The scams reportedly increased 98 percent in Q1 which also found that a spike in calls was linked to Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa. Most robocall scams have a 222 or 232 area code.
Based on the different area codes being affected, Hiya said the top locations being scammed with “One Ring” calls are Southeastern Louisiana, Tulsa, Northeast Texas, Oklahoma, New York, Westchester County, Fort Lauderdale, Memphis, Tennessee, Baton Rouge, Worcester, Virginia, Roanoke, and Massachusetts.
To avoid these robocall scams, the FDC released the following tips:
- Do not call back numbers you do not recognize, especially those appearing to originate overseas.
- File a complaint with the FCC if you received these calls: http://www.fcc.gov/complaints
- If you never make international calls, consider talking to your phone company about blocking outbound international calls to prevent accidental toll calls.
- Check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize.