Criminals are targeting people throughout the country, including Calvert County, simply by calling them. Intended victims receive a call on their phones which rings once and then disconnects, thereby arousing the call-recipient’s natural curiosity – “who just called me and from where?” Sometimes the caller actually allows the phone to ring long enough for the victim to answer then, after stating something unintelligible — the caller (or the caller’s robo-caller system) hangs up, enticing the victim to wonder what is going on and call back.
Perpetrators of this scam program their computers to blast out thousands of calls to random cell phone numbers, ring once, and then disconnect. This scam relies on consumers calling back missed calls, which then connect them to a paid international ‘chat’ line, or other service located outside the country.
Victims who return the call are billed an international call fee, along with per minute charges for the unwanted service, which can be $9 per minute or more. In some cases, the scammers may only put through a small charge of several dollars, so it won’t arouse suspicion.
Don’t let curiosity get the best of you. If you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number, ignore it. If you do answer, do not call back. Remember, if a caller has something important to say, he or she can leave a message identifying themselves.
You should also check your cell phone bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any unauthorized charges. The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed.