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Immediate Release

scam alert tlsOcean County Consumer Affairs officials say if you are not familiar with a telephone number that has called your cell phone, don’t rush to return it because it could be part of a costly scam.

Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as Chairman of Consumer Affairs, warns consumers of the newest deception called “one-ring phone scam” that counts on your curiosity getting the better of you to return a missed call which is then redirected overseas at an exorbitant expense.

“Consumers may want to think twice about calling back a number they don’t recognize,” Vicari warned.

As in most phone-based scams, the perpetrators use auto-dialing computer programs to call phones all over the country. In this case, the scammers let the phone ring once and then hang up. This will cause a missed call notification to show on the victim’s cell phone. If the number is called back you are connected to a costly entertainment service located overseas.

Consumers that do make the return call are usually charged up front a $19.95 international call fee and then as much as $9 per minute or more for the service. Some scammers charge minimal fees to avoid suspicion, but those cases are few.

The calls usually originate from outside the United States, and show area codes from 268, 809, 876, 284 and 473.

Vicari along with Stephen Scaturro, Director of the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, strongly suggests ignoring any missed or out-of-state phone calls that you don’t recognize. He also suggests checking your cell phone bill for any unwarranted charges.

“If your curiosity does get the best of you, and you have to know, Google the number first,” Vicari said. “It might save you a hefty phone charge.”

If you believe you have been a victim of a scam or would like additional information, contact the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs located at 1027 Hooper Ave., Building 2, Toms River, or call the office at732-929-2105. [TLS]


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