JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster warned Missourians on Thursday about a scam that could result in unauthorized charges on their monthly cell phone bill.
The scam, which is commonly known as the "one ring" scam, involves scammers calling a cell phone number, letting it ring once and then hanging up. When the target returns the missed call to the number on the caller ID, the victim can get more than they bargained for.
Many of the calls come from numbers outside of the U.S., particularly Grenada, which has a 473 area code. When the victim calls the number back, they can be charged $20 for the international call, in addition to per-minute charges for purported premium services.
If the victim returns the call, it also confirms for the scammer that it is a working cell phone number, which may then be sold to unscrupulous telemarketers overseas.
In December, Koster warned consumers to be cautious in providing personal or financial information over the phone, particularly after the recent Target credit and debit card breach. Thieves pretending to be from Target or a consumer's bank are calling and emailing consumers asking for personally identifying information.
"Opportunistic thieves may try to take advantage of those whose personal information has been compromised by the recent data breach," Koster said. "Consumers should be wary when anyone asks for their personal information via telephone or email, as the person on the other end of the line may be trying to steal the consumer's identity."