The light of a new day crests over the horizon, and your alarm wakes you from a restful slumber. You wipe the sleep out of your eyes to begin a new day filled with the hope of the unknown. When you reach for your phone to check for activity, you notice an unknown number called in the middle of the night.
Curious about the call, you dial the number to see who might have tried to reach you. When a person answers, a man with broken English begins talking about scheduling a package delivery. After a short while, you realize the man is fishing for information about you and has no idea who you are. Recognizing the person is a scammer, you tell him never to call you again and hang up, satisfied that you avoided the scam.
Only, you didn’t avoid the scam at all. You were scammed the moment you dialed the caller back.
This scam is an old one, but it’s making a comeback. In the scam, a person, or more likely an auto-dialing bot, from a foreign country dials a target’s phone number and hangs up after the first or second ring. The bot may also dial back immediately and hang up again after the first ring, giving the illusion of urgency. The caller doesn’t want you to answer the phone. Instead, the caller wants you to dial the number that appears on your phone. When you call the number, you’ll incur a high per-minute fee for making the long-distance call.
The goal of the fraudster in this scam is to keep you on the line as long as possible. The longer you remain on the line with the scammer, the more charges that scoundrel will rake in from the call. The scammer might also convince the victim to hand over personal information, though this is only a side benefit.
Don’t let your curiosity prompt you to call an unknown telephone number back.
If you miss a call and the call is urgent, the caller will leave a message or text you with callback information. Too many people are letting their curiosity get the best of them, and they’re calling these scammers back. When a scam is repeatedly successful, that success encourages the scammer to keep up the fraud.
Do you want to know a great way to stop scammers? Avoid falling for their scams.
Scammers make their living by finding ways to cheat good people out of their hard-earned money. If a scam technique fails to fool targets into giving up their money, then they move on to other methods. Eventually, if a scammer fails to make enough money scamming people, they’ll have to move on to more conventional ways of earning a living – like working in an honest profession.
The next time you get a call and the caller hangs up after one or two rings, resist the urge to call the number. Making yourself unavailable to a scammer is the single best way to avoid scams. If the caller is someone you know dialing from an unknown phone number, the person will leave a message.