Cell phone scam profits off curiosity

Posted:

Champaign--Scammers are using a new version of an old trick to get money out of cell phone users.

It's similar to receiving a call from a 900 phone number that charges consumers for their time on the line. Except these call originate in the Caribbean islands.

Callers hang up after one ring, hoping those on the receiving end will be curious enough to call back. For every minute cell phone customers spend calling those offshore numbers, the scammers are making money.

"The phone company will charge an uplift on a consumer's bill and then give that money to the operators," said cybersecurity expert John Bambenek. "So in essence the phone company is the middle man in this case."

The calls can cost anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars. The best way to avoid the scam altogether is to ignore calls from unknown numbers.

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