If you see a missed call originating in the Caribbean from someone you don't know, it is likely that you have been targeted by perpetrators of the ‘one-ring phone scam’. While the numbers used in these phishing activities can originate anywhere in the world, Slate reports that Caribbean numbers have been noticed with alarming frequency over the past few weeks:
The Better Business Bureau lists calls from Antigua and Barbuda (268), the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), the British Virgin Islands (284), and Grenada (473) as potential scam threats. People who do call back could be charged something like $30 for the international call, depending on the carrier, and see fraudulent service fees showing up on their phone bills. This process of ‘cramming,’ when third-party scammers sneak bogus charges onto legitimate phone bills, is ever on the rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission.
Affected persons around the world took to Twitter to report the issue:
Gona go out on a limb here and assume that the missed call I just got from Antigua/Barbuda is not a close friend of mine. If so, sorry.
— Craig Doran (@CDoran19) February 4, 2014
Got a missed call today from Jamaica. Definitely a first. A puzzling, puzzling first.
— Casey Morell (@csymrl) December 14, 2013
Occurrences of these calls have also been reported in Trinidad and Tobago on Facebook. Shelley-anne L Thompson weighed in on the discussion:
I get that like once a month and have never called. come on, people you know this scam! dont let your curiosity trap you.
I'm glad to see this! I've recently had hang up calls from Antigua and Grenada! Like wtf?!
Others were more concerned about the impact of the scam on the region. Michael Nahous of Trinidad and Tobago was not amused:
How can they charge you $30.00 without some contract arrangement with the telephone carrier….its only digicel, cable wireless and the local telephone companies in these islands…if they know its a scam why cant they just disconnect the number.
People affected by the scam are being urged to alert their service providers if they spot any unusual charges on their phone bills.