8 On Your Side digs in to 'one ring' scam - WFLA News Channel 8

8 On Your Side digs in to 'one ring' scam

Posted: Updated:
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - 8 On Your Side is now digging deeper into the "one ring scam" recently brought to light from the Better Business Bureau. 

A Lakeland woman says she's experiencing more problems after falling victim to it.

"I've started getting calls over and over again with restricted numbers," said Ethel Brown. "I feel like they're trying to get me to do something I don't want to do and they're trying to get money from me somehow through these calls."

The bombardment of dozens of calls a day comes after Ethel returned a call from an unknown number. It was from the 473 area code, the island of Grenada in the south Caribbean. She immediately hung up but still was charged $1.69.

As it turns out, Ethel was probably one of the lucky ones.

"What the scammer's trying to do is generate curiosity," said Bryan Oglesby, Director of Business Relations for West Florida's Better Business Bureau. "They want you to call that phone number back that's unknown and when you do, you're going to incur charges for that."

Oglesby and the BBB are warning consumers about the problem in several states where consumers report getting calls on their cell phones from unknown numbers.

"It's very similar to calling a 900 number," Oglesby said. "You can be charged up-front fees as much as $19... and then they try to keep you on the phone - keep you on hold. You hear music and they can charge you as much as $9 a minute."

The area codes that appear on the caller ID often originate from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473), according to the Better Business Bureau.

"The key is educating consumers... making sure they know when they receive this call to not return the phone call," Oglesby said. "If the number's unknown, you can easily look it up, search it on Google, find out where the number's coming from and just be aware. Do not call back numbers that are unknown."

Oglesby suggests speaking with a representative from your carrier.

"You can ask them to block third party calls," he said. "See if that's a service they can provide to you."

Many cell companies allow you to block a certain amount of phone numbers for a period of time for free, but some victims are complaining the numbers are coming from different ones each time.

Some carriers allow you to block private numbers (those with no caller ID like Ethel is experiencing), but it often comes with a small monthly fee (around $5.00). You should call your individual carrier for details.

Now the question is: did somebody distribute Ethel's number after she made that initial call overseas? She and her husband are both on state and federal do not call lists, yet the barrage of private numbers continues to come in.

"It's a big frustration," she said. "I resent the intrusion on my privacy on my phone. My phone is for my use to call my friends and my family."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:49 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:49:59 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:41:03 GMT
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
  • Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:59 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:59:20 GMT
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
  • Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:44 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:44:26 GMT
    Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.