New phone scam charges victims’ phone bill

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – There’s a new scam targeting your phone, and is different from what we’ve seen before.

It’s called the “one ring” because your phone rings once and disconnects.

It has hit people all across the country. Folks who call back could end up paying a lot.

Yolonda Baker said she knew something was wrong the first time she received a strange phone call from someone in the Caribbean. “It’s happened before, but the frequency of it started increasing this month.”

As an accountant who works with families with kids with special needs, Baker gets dozens of calls every day. Not answering the phone could hurt her business, she says.

But the Better Business Bureau says calling the number back could hurt you even more.

During the phone scam, thieves use computers to send thousands of calls to random telephone numbers.

People say when they call back, they sit on hold for awhile listening to what they say is elevator music, with a person never answering. It finally disconnects, but the trouble doesn’t stop there.

If you do call back, KXAN has learned you could see a charge on your phone bill for as much as $9 a minute.

“It’s upsetting because I’m going to have to think twice, do research, go online to see if it’s a legitimate number,” Baker said, “and it takes up time out of my day to help clients.”

The Better Business Bureau says if you get a call from an international number, you’re better off not answering and not calling back.

If you think you were scammed, watch your bill and tell your phone company about the unauthorized charges.

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