Flood of ‘one ring’ scam robocalls prompts FCC warning

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-05 09:12:51-04

WASHINGTON – Federal Communications Commission officials issued a warning Friday after detecting a surge in “one ring” scam robocalls with a West African area code.

Also known as “Wangiri,” Japanese for “one ring and drop,” the  scam generates robocalls targeting specific area codes, often calling multiple times in the middle of the night. Generally, the robocaller will call a number and hang up after a ring or two. They may call repeatedly.

These calls are likely trying to prompt consumers to call the number back, often resulting in per minute toll charges similar to a 900 number. However, officials say you should not call these numbers back.

While the FCC warned about calls from the area code 222, Mauritania, it appears other area codes were also used.

According to data from Hiya, an international company dedicated to protecting users from spam and robocalls, one ring scam calls from Sierra Leone jumped 2527% from Thursday to Friday.

Related: Stop the robocalls: Tips to block scammers for good

These were the top area codes targeted by calls from Sierra Leone:

  1. Tulsa, Oklahoma (918)
  2. Southeastern Louisiana (985)
  3. Northeast Texas (903)
  4. Westchester County, New York (914)
  5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (954)
  6. Memphis, Tennessee (901)
  7. Texas (981)
  8. Baton Rouge, Lousianna (225)
  9. Worcester, Massachusetts (508)
  10. Roanoke, Virginia (540)

Consumer Tips:

  • Do not call back numbers you do not recognize, especially those appearing to originate overseas.
  • File a complaint with the FCC if you received these calls:
  • If you never make international calls, consider talking to your phone company about blocking outbound international calls to prevent accidental toll calls.
  • Check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize.