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It happened to me just a few days ago. I didn't recognize the number but ppicked up my hpone anyway. A recorded message told me I urgently owed the goverment money and if I didn't give my credit card immediately; well, there would be consequences to suffer. Fortunately, I knew this was a scam. But many people don't. 

In 2018, 69% of all reported scams were phone scams. Once a scammer has you on the phone, they will attempt to fraudulently take your money with heavy handed sales pitches, empty promises and phony threats—whether live or automated. 

The latest phone scam has been coined the “One Ring” scam. Your phone will ring once and end. You think you missed the call so you ring the caller back. You may get an actual person or possibly a recording. As you’re waiting to figure out who’s on the other end, high interconnect fees are adding up, similar to calling a 900 number, and you’re racking up high phone bills while you wait. The phone number on caller ID will most likely appear to be an in-country call, but the calls are actually being trafficked from overseas. Each minute you’re on the phone with the caller, the more money you’ll lose and most likely not get back. Often these calls happen in the middle of the night when prospective victims are more vulnerable due to not having their wits about them having been woken up and assuming there must be some sort of emergency. 

Justin Lavelle Chief Communications Officer for and a leading expert on phone scams shares his best tips to avoid the latest “One Ring” phone scheme and other phone scams currently circulating: 

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Don’t Answer Unrecognized Numbers. If you don’t recognize the phone number or have the caller in your contacts, don’t answer the phone. If a caller you don’t recognize calls back more than once, but does not leave a message, block the caller. These calls are typically trying to get you to agree to something that will inevitably cost you money. It’s also advised to avoid answering the phone with an unrecognized number in the middle of the night when you’re less likely to have your wits about you. The caller is banking on the fact that you’re not fully awake and more likely to fall into their fraudulent trap. If you accidentally answer the phone and it’s a robocall, hang up immediately. Robocalls are illegal if the company calling you has not done business with you in the past month.

Use Reverse Phone Look-up Apps. Reverse phone look-up apps help you to identify phone numbers, names associated to the number and sometimes addresses. So the next time you miss a call and aren’t familiar with the phone number, instead of calling the number back, first do a reverse phone look-up.

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Don’t Follow Pre-recorded Messages. If a prerecorded message comes on after answering a call, asking you to “Press 1” to speak to a live operator or press any key to get taken off a call list, you’ll most likely start receiving more robocalls and become a victim of phishing.

Do Not Give Out Personal or Financial Information. If a caller asks you for personal or financial information (such as social security number or credit card information) or requests that you confirm a number they already have, you’re being duped by a fraudster. Many scammers ask people to wire money. This should be a red light you’re being scammed and it is impossible to reverse cash when using wired money. If a seller keeps on insisting you to wire transfer for making payments, do not act unless you are sure about the authenticity of the deal.

Do Add Your Phone Number to the Do Not Call Registry. Unfortunately, scammers are always one step ahead of everyone which makes it nearly impossible to totally stop fraudulent calls. It will however make them easier to spot because most legitimate telemarketers won’t call you if you’re on the registry.

Use a Call Blocking App or Device to Screen Calls. A call blocking app will help you to screen calls and weed out spam and scams. Ask your phone-service provider if they offer any blocking tools as well.

Checking Phone Bills for Unidentifiable Charges. Always look over your phone bill and check carefully for suspicious numbers. Report any questionable numbers to your phone company and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

Report Suspected Phone Scams. If you encounter a suspected phone scam or an abusive telemarketer, file a complaint with the FTC online or at 877-382-4357. It’s also helpful to notify your state consumer protection office.

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