The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


March 1, 2014

MEIER: More robo-call news


I checked several phone carriers popular locally, and found none worked with Nomorobo. With each carrier I checked, the website gave me the message to contact the phone carrier and tell them to support “simultaneous ring.” So if we want to promote this anti robo-call program, we need to complain loudly to our phone companies.


So while we are thinking about phone calls, here is a new warning. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau recently issued warnings about the “one-ring” cellphone scam. It works this way: Crooks use auto-dialers to generate thousands of phone calls to cellphones each minute. Crooks program the auto-dialers to ring only once, then disconnect the call.

Cellphone users will hear the one ring, and see a “missed call” message pop up. Now the scammers goal is to stoke our curiosity enough about this “missed call” to call back. It’s probably an even bet whether a user will return the call. Some folks worry they just missed an important call. Others will always wonder who tried to call them.

The cellphone user, to satisfy their curiosity, will call back. In most cases the answer to that return call will sound something like, “Hello. You’ve reached the operator, please hold.” These holds can go on and on. Why? Because the number called was an international number, to which high call rates apply. Some examples of the rates I read about start at $20 per call, plus a $9 per minute charge, including the hold time.

The Federal Trade Commission reported the calls look like they originate from US area codes, but they do not. They originate in Caribbean countries. These area codes include 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 787, 809, 829, 849, and 876.

My advice is to not automatically answer your cellphone. Look at the number calling you. If you don’t recognize it, don’t answer it. You put your money at risk by letting your curiosity overcome you and calling back these numbers.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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