The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is joining the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help alert Tennessee consumers to increased reports of ‘one ring’ or ‘Wangiri’ scam robocalls targeting specific area codes in bursts, often calling multiple times in the middle of the night.
While these calls might appear as if they’re originating from the U.S., scammers use spoofing techniques to mask their locations and true identities. In reality, one-ring scammers use international numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes – for example, ‘232’ goes to Sierra Leone and ‘809’ goes to the Dominican Republic. Advances in technology allow massive amounts of calls to be made cheaply and easily.
Generally, the one-ring scams take place when a robocaller calls a number and hangs up after a ring or two. They may call repeatedly, hoping the consumer returns the call. If consumers return the calls, they risk being connected to a phone number outside the U.S. As a result, consumers may be charged a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees for as long as a consumer stays on the phone. These charges may show up on a phone bill as premium services, international calling, or toll-calling. Consumers should never call these numbers back.
News reports have indicated widespread calls across the U.S., including Tennessee where Knoxville and Memphis news stations have reported consumers complaining about being targeted by these robocalls.
If you believe you are being contacted by a one-ring scammer, remember:
· 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 at <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.
The FCC is working to combat scam calls with enforcement actions, a strong push for caller ID authentication, and support for call blocking tools. For more information, visit the FCC’s one-ring scam consumer guide