One-ring cellphone scam costs consumers

Dialing unknown number can be costly

TAMPA - Talk radio host Todd Schnitt went on a rant when it happened to him.

The single ring came in on his cellphone from a number he traced to Grenada. In this trick, the phone rings once. That's what catches some people.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Investigator Frank Pitts said the scammers bank on people calling back. When they do, their bill gets hit with third-party charges that range from $9 to $20 per minute.

"Just because you are on it and waiting to connect, in that matter of seconds you are going to get slammed with a bill," Pitts said.

For the curious who do fall victim, contact your phone carrier right away and ask to have the charges removed. But the best thing you can do is avoid answering and returning unknown calls. Investigators recommend you plug the unknown number into your contact list and label it "telemarketer" or "do not answer" or something that reminds you or anyone who might answer your phone not to pick up.

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