FCC warns of Sierra Leone ‘one ring' robocallers: Don't call back

Blocking the number doesn't always work because the robocallers change numbers. It's known as a "Wangiri" scam, Japanese for one-ring-and-cut. So if you aren't expecting a call from a number overseas, don't try and call the number back.

In a consumer alert, the federal agency warns these waves of "One Ring" or "Wangiri" robocalls are targeting different area codes in the U.S.in bursts in the middle of the night. If you decide to call back the number, you'll be charged a considerable amount of money that will be deposited in the caller's account, much like dialing a 900 number.

The ploy, often referred to as the "One Ring" phone scam, has varied through the years, sometimes with voice-mail messages urging the recipient to call a number with an unfamiliar area code to collect a prize or to learn about a sick relative.

The FCC says that the one-ring robocall usually consists of hanging up after a ring or two and calling repeatedly until the person calls back and incurs charges. But savvy scammers often use global numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes - for example, "649" goes to the Turks and Caicos and "809" goes to the Dominican Republic. Should you call back? NO! These charges may show up on your bill as premium services.

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Scammers use spoofing tools to hide their identities.

Don't answer or return any calls from numbers you don't recognize.

To avoid becoming a victim, regulators say, don't answer or return calls from an unfamiliar number and check whether an area code is worldwide before calling a new number.

And if you don't make worldwide calls, ask your phone company to block outgoing global calls on your line. But, many phone companies do allow you to block calls worldwide calls or calls from specific regions. If you are unable to resolve it directly, you can file a complaint with the FCC at no cost.

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