SCAM ALERT — Dialing back unknown number could cost you, Washington attorney general warns

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SEATTLE — When you get a call from the Caribbean with no message, don't call back out of curiosity, the state's attorney general warns.

It could cost you $20 or more.

That missed mobile call from a sunny island such as Antigua, Barbuda or Jamaica probably doesn't mean you have won a trip to the Caribbean, the office said this week.

Rings only once

Scammers are placing calls to random mobile numbers around the United States. The phone rings once and then disconnects.

If you hit the “call back” button wondering who might be calling from the Caribbean, you will be connected to a paid international hotline — usually adult entertainment — or other premium service located outside the country and charged $19.95 for an international call fee and an additional $9 per minute.

People have reported getting calls from Antigua or Barbuda (area code 268), the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473).

It's called the “One Ring Scam” by the Better Business Bureau, according to The Spokesman Review in Spokane.

Automated dialers make thousands of calls to random digits or numbers gleaned from public listings or lists they purchase, and scammers count on some recipients calling back out of curiosity.

If you don't recognize the number, don't answer the phone, the attorney general recommends, adding that a legitimate caller will leave a voicemail.

Last modified: February 14. 2014 8:22AM
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