The Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont about a scam that can result in a $20 charge.
Users have been receiving calls from a unknown caller that hangs up after one ring. When the owner of the cell phone tries to call the number back they are billed $19.95 for an international call fee.
Some people hear music or advertising as they are unknowingly connected to a caller-paid toll service or a line out of the country. This practice has become known as cramming
If you are victim of this scam you are advised to contact your cell phone carrier immediately and check your bill for unauthorized charges.
The Caribbean area codes that appear on the caller ID have been reported to be from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284), Grenada (473), Antigua (268), Dominica (767) and more.
BBB advises the following tips to avoid the scam:
· Don't Answer Unknown Calls. If you don't recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it.
· Add Restrictions to Your Account. Contact your service provider to see if you can restrict third-party billing on your account. Inform other users on your cell phone plan about this scam, and to ignore phone numbers they do not recognize.
· Understand Your Bills. Be sure to keep track of what services you pay for, that way you will be able to determine if any charges are unauthorized. By keeping a close eye on monthly statements, you will be less likely to become victim of these scams. Monitoring your bill is the best way to determine whether or not you've been affected. The sooner you spot any unexpected charges, the sooner you can stop them.
· Report Incorrect Charges Promptly. Many cardholders are protected by zero liability policies set in place by credit card companies. Request a new card if you notice unauthorized charges. Fraudulent charges mean your card information has been compromised. Be on the safe side and request a new card. Always be cautious about disclosing your account number on the telephone or online unless you know the person you're dealing with represents a reputable company.