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October 17, 2023 Security

Beware of Calls From These Area Codes

Scam calls have become one of the most common and annoying features of the 21st century. More than just interrupting your daily life, they scam thousands of Americans out of their hard-earned money every year. According to Trucaller, Americans lost close to $30 billion to phone scams in 2020.

Scammers now have the technology to call a huge amount of people in a very short amount of time. This means that with little effort, they are calling millions of people, and even if only a small number fall for the scam, they are making money.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about phone scams and how to avoid them.

What is Traffic Pumping?

In simple terms, traffic pumping is when a local area receives a large increase in call volume and causes an increase in phone call prices. Scammers use this as an opportunity to artificially inflate the call volume and then charge other companies more money to increase their profit.

The bad news for you is that phone companies will pass the larger pill onto you and increase your phone bill. Only sometimes is the consumer warned of the higher charges, while other times they just appear on their bill.

There are specific area codes that are very well-known for traffic pumping. Be on the watchout for the 712 and 218 area codes watch your bill for any extra or unusual charges and report them to your provider.

The One-Ring Scam

Just as it sounds, this is when scammers ring your phone only one time before hanging up. These scammers are banking on the thought that you will call the number back to see what you missed. If you do call the number back though, it ends up being a number in the Caribbean or another place outside of your coverage that could be costing you up to $50 per minute you are on the phone.

If you find this happening to you often, be sure to search any number that calls you on the internet before returning the call. Oftentimes, scammers’ phone numbers will have online warnings you can find so that you know not to call them back. As a best practice, be weary of answering any phone calls from unfamiliar phone numbers, but rather let them go to voicemail.

In this ruse, scammers use robocalling technology to call wireless numbers and hang up after only one ring. The scammers hope the target will be curious and careless enough to return the call. If they do, they will likely call a number in the Caribbean, costing them up to $30 a minute. A prevalent one-ring scam that originates in Japan brings that cost up to $50 a minute!

Instead of always picking up in the first few rings, try letting the call go to voicemail. this way, even if you are curious and want to know the reason for the call you can first research the number to see what Google says about it. Normally, the internet will help you determine if the number is a scam caller with warnings attached to it, or if it belongs to a business or individual.

The FTC warns consumers about one-ring phone calls that come from the following area codes:

  • 268–Antigua and Barbuda
  • 284–British Virgin Islands
  • 473–Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique
  • 664–Montserrat
  • 876–Jamaica
  • 649–Turks and Caicos Islands
  • 767–Commonwealth of Dominica
  • 809, 829, 849–Dominican Republic

Prevent More Robocalls

There are also a few things you can do to decrease the number of robocalls you are receiving if they start to become a real bother. Try these few things to reduce those calls:

  • Put your number on the Do Not Call list
  • Call your phone provider and ask if they have any robocall-blocking functions (keep in mind that they may charge additional fees to supply you with the service)
  • Download a robocall-blocking app to help you manage the phone calls. There are quite a few available like: YouMail, RoboKiller, or Hiya.