Don’t Call Them Back: “One Ring” Scam

Don’t Call Them Back: “One Ring” Scam

August 1st, 2019 - Telecom, Identity and Protection

By: Lavinia Kennedy, Director of Product Management

If your phone rings once, and you don’t know the number, you might have been hit with the latest robocall scam “One Ring.”

In early May the Federal Communications Commission issued a warning to consumers that One Ring is part of a larger scheme to bait consumers into calling the number back, resulting in phone charges, similar to calling a 900 number.

The FCC reported that One Ring calls originate from the West African country code 222 or Sierra Leone code 232, so if an unsuspecting consumer calls the number back, they incur international charges.

This type of scam is also known as “Wangiri” which means “one and done” in Japanese, where the scam originated years ago. TNS estimates that billions of international charges have been incurred by US consumers in connection with this scheme. Consumers in New York, Ohio and Arizona have to date been the primary targets.

If you return a One Ring call, you might get a person or a recording to sway you to stay on the line. Every minute listening is a minute charged, and the cost of making the call depends on your carrier, your location, and how long you spend on the line.

Like other robocalls, scammers try tricking consumers in multiple ways; like neighborhood spoofing or snowshoe spamming they manipulate caller ID to mask their real phone number so that the call appears to be local.

Robocallers also spoof country codes and typically call specific area codes repeatedly, often late at night. To avoid being a victim, follow the FCC advisory guidance on ignoring “One Ring” and other scams:

  • Don’t answer or return any calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
  • Before calling unfamiliar numbers, check to see if the area code is international.
  • If you do not make international calls, ask your phone company to block outgoing international calls on your line.
  • Always be cautious, even if a number appears authentic.

In addition to following FCC guidance, consumers can protect themselves by leveraging telecom provider robocall detection solutions powered by TNS Call Guardian. According to a Mind Commerce study, Call Guardian correctly identified spoofed numbers 98% of the time compared to 64% for other solutions.

TNS analyzes robocall data from more than one billion daily call events across hundreds of telecom providers. Because of this volume of data, TNS extracts insights on emerging robocaller trends and tactics. While it is difficult to predict what the next major robocall scam will be, we do know this: scammers continue to rapidly evolve their tactics and targets to evade detection efforts. This means consumers must remain vigilant when it comes to suspicious incoming calls, and carriers must continue to commit to deploying innovative solutions to protect their subscribers.

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