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One-ring calls from various area codes on the rise

The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a one-ring phone scam that could be costly to those who try to call the number back.

The sheriff’s office sent out a Nixle alert at 9:42 p.m. Thursday, warning people about the alleged scam, and also posted information regarding the scam on the department’s Facebook page.

The scam involves someone calling and hanging up after one ring or stating something unintelligible and hanging up, hoping the individual on the other end of the line will return the call. The number appears to be domestic but is not and is an expensive return call, according to the sheriff’s office Facebook post. The caller appears to be dialing through all area codes and extensions, and no one agency or group is directly targeted.

The Facebook post links to a warning by the Better Business Bureau regarding the scam:

The call could cost up to $20 per minute, the post continues, adding that these types of scams have been on the rise during the past month. Residents have reported calls originating from area codes 809, 473, 284, 649 and 876. There are also a string of international area codes the alleged scammers have used. For a complete list, go to the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.

“The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called ‘cramming.’ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow,” according to the Better Business Bureau’s website.

If a resident does not recognize an out-of-state telephone number on their caller ID, the Better Business Bureau recommends ignoring the call or not calling back. Check cellphone bills carefully, and inform service carriers if any unauthorized charges are spotted.

“The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed,” the BBB website states.