Countless owners of 315-area code phone numbers were woken up overnight Monday into Tuesday, receiving a series of phone calls from strange numbers in foreign countries.

Most of the numbers appeared to have come from Mauritania, a country in Northwest Africa. Others are from Belgium, Belarus, Yemen or Congo.

The phone rings briefly and then the caller hangs up, prompting many people to call back in confusion. 

The scammer’s goal is to be persistent enough to get a callback. In many cases, leads the victim to be connected to an international hotline than can charge per minute.

These charges may show up on your bill as premium services.

This scam is referred to as the “One Ring” scam or Wangiri scam. 

The Federal Communications Commission has a webpage dedicated to helping prevent the scam.

If you get a phone call like this, the best thing to do is not engage– do not pick up, do not call it back. 

There is a “do not call list,” but scammers aren’t going to play by the rules, so often times it won’t do you any good to add your number to the list.

Some things you can do, however, are: 

  • Hang up immediately, on calls where there appears to be no recipient on the other end
  • Be wary of multiple calls being received from the same number
  • Do not call back any number that leaves you a blank voicemail message
  • Do not provide any personal information for example – banking details PPS number/credit card details/name and address/passport numbers etc

A spokesperson for Verizon Wireless tells NewsChannel 9 it’s up to the customer to protect themselves from scams and there is no blanket policy for forgiving scam-related charges, but may work with them on a case-by-case basis to waive fees they feel are unfair.

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