A phone scam that has come and gone many times in recent years is making a comeback, and it could be easier than you think to become a victim.
It starts with a simple phone call.
Victims get a call that rings only once or twice, or maybe until you pick up, and then the call is disconnected. Sometimes it sounds like someone at the other end of the call is groaning or in distress when you answer, and then they hang up.
Police say scammers use this tactic to try to arouse your curiosity. They are hoping you’ll wonder who is calling, and that you’ll call them back.
That return phone call can be costly, in some cases it results in a charge of $19 or more to your phone bill.
The unknown calls are primarily coming from area codes 284, 473, 767, 809 and 876 but they could come from anywhere. Area codes in the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and other island locations are among those identified in the scam calls.
“Recommended best phone practice is to only return calls to numbers you know or to unknown numbers that leave a legitimate message,” said a recent statement from the Des Moines County, Iowa Sheriff.
A statement from the sheriff’s office said the scam seems to have originated with area code 809 in the Dominican Republic. It has reportedly involved nearly 20 area codes: 242 (Bahamas); 246 (Barbados); 264 (Anguilla); 268 (Antigua); 284 (British Virgin Islands); 345 (Cayman Islands); 441 (Bermuda); 473 (Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique); 649 (Turks and Caicos); 664 (Montserrat), (758) St. Lucia); 767 (Dominica); 784 (St. Vincent and Grenadines); 809, 829 and 849 (Dominican Republic); 868 (Trinidad and Tobago); 876 (Jamaica) and 869 (St. Kitts & Nevis).