BBB warning: Don’t call back ‘one-ring’ scammers

Published 6:36 pm Monday, May 6, 2019


A new warning has been circulating from the Better Business Bureau about yet another scam that could soon be making your phone ring. On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission said there are “waves” of the one-ring scam, which target specific area codes.

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“They do it in bursts, often calling several times in the overnight hours,” says Heather Clary, the BBB’s director of communications.

She said FCC officials warn that if someone falls victim to the one-ring scam, and calls the number back to find out who it was, it results in toll charges per minute. “They are much like the ‘900’ number calls,” Clary said. She said the FCC says the calls are using the 222 country code of the West African nation of Mauritania.

“Generally, the one ring scam takes place when a robo-caller calls a number and hangs up, after a ring or two,” Clary said. “They may call repeatedly, hoping the consumer calls back and runs up a toll that is largely paid to scammer.”

Clary says it’s human nature to be annoyed enough — and curious enough — about the origin of a middle-of-the-night caller, that they might call it back to see who is is. “However, in this case, that could be an expensive decision.”

Clary says while BBB, which serves central and eastern Kentucky, has had no reports of these types of calls locally, they try to get ahead of scams when notified of them in other areas. “Other offices around the country have been reporting of these calls in their areas,” Clary said.

Although none have been reported locally, it could happen. “So we want the public to be aware.”

Clary says if anyone gets a call they suspect was a one-ring scam, they should call BBB and the FCC to let both agencies know.

Because scam artists always seem to find new routes, Clary said it’s important to keep in-the-know about what’s hitting other places.

“As always, we advise not answering any calls you don’t recognize from the caller ID, in order to avoid phone scams in general.”

Tips for dealing with the “one ring” call:

• Do not call back numbers you don’t recognize, especially those seeming to originate from overseas.

• If you receive a one-ring scam call, file a complaint with the FCC at, and submit a report to BBB Scam Tracker at The BBB can also be reached by phone at (859) 259-1008 or (800) 866-6668.

• If you never make international calls, consider talking to your phone company about blocking outbound international calls to prevent accidental toll calls.

• Always check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize.


You can contact the Better Business Bureau of Central & Eastern Kentucky to check out companies, charities, or to report problems and scams by calling the Lexington office at (859) 259-1008 or toll-free (800) 866-6668. Services are also available by logging on to