BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Screening your calls has never been more important, because the next time you pick up or call back a number you don’t recognize it could cost you. “We’ve gotten calls every day about this,” says Peggy Penders with the Better Business Bureau.
A phone scam is spreading across the country and it’s hit Western New York. Penders is sending out an alert to cell phone users – don’t call back unrecognized numbers. “Often times these calls are repeated again and again and again really trying to get you to pick up that phone.”
The scam works like this: you’ll receive a call. The phone will ring once and then disconnect. The scammer is relying on your curiosity to call back and that’s when you’ll be hit with a charge.
“If you do call back you’re going to be charged for that international call. You may even be signed up for a premium service which could hit your cell phone bill at about $20 a month,” said Penders.
Penders says the area codes are typically from the Caribbean. “We’re really advising you not to call you just have to learn to ignore it.”
While there usually won’t be anyone on the other end, Penders says that’s not always the case. “We have heard from consumers when they have called back they are hearing adult entertainment which is really a scammers way to keep you on the line longer.”
So how are they able to get your money? “They’re using your cell phone bill just like they would a credit card statement. They’re charging you for fees and activities that you did not authorize. Now you’re responsible for those. Unless you catch it and if you do catch it you can report it to your carrier.”
Penders says it’s important that you contact your cell phone carrier within 60 days. That’s typically the amount of time given to dispute charges.
Penders says with this particular scam they’ve only seen it with cell phones, but cramming, as it is called, can also affect land lines. So really pay attention to your cell phone bill to make sure they aren’t any unauthorized charges.