In a longtime calling scam, crooks leave voice messages asking you to call back a specific number because you have won a sweepstakes or have an undeliverable package. Now they simply program calls to smartphones to ring only once or disconnect when you answer. Your curiosity over a missed-call alert results in you spending upwards of $30 to call back. The reason: Despite a seemingly American area code, the call is to an international phone number—often in the Caribbean—that charges a premium connection fee and per-minute rate, which is extended through long holds and frequent transfers.
You might also find charges crammed onto your bill with such innocuous language as “special services,” “Internet advertising” or “minimum monthly usage fee.”
What to know: Beware of any unfamiliar calls—one ring or otherwise—with area codes 268, 284, 473, 649, 664, 767, 809, 829, 849 or 876.
These text messages claim to be from your bank or credit card company and say there’s a problem with your account. You’re instructed to click an included link, which leads you to a look-alike, scammer-run website that seeks your name, account number and online log-in credentials.
See also: Billed for fake debt