Beware Of The One Ring Scam Call

You got three missed calls. It appears urgent and you are tempted to call back. What do they want?

Many make phone calls by accident, so you ignore them. The caller, however, keeps calling you at random times of the day, always stopping after one ring. 

If it’s so important, why do they hang off the call so quickly?

You end up calling the number, engage in a fruitless conversation (if there is one), and forget about the issue. Later, you find hundreds charged on your phone bill.

One Ring Call Scams: Why Do People Call Back?

Why Do People Call Back

All the con man wants is to make you call back, which he may achieve more likely than you would think. You may have the habit of not answering unknown phone calls. However, scammers can spoof their caller IDs to make you fall into multiple confidence tricks.

People call back because:

a. They think of another number. They are waiting for someone to call them until the scammer makes a one-ring call. The victim who expects an important call is wondering: “Could it have been this other person?”

b. They think of friends and family. A scammer can mask the phone location and number, so you think what he wants to make you think. There’s a good chance that a person who has your number knows your friends and family numbers. He can use those numbers to call you, and you’ll think a trusted person is trying to contact you. You’d rationalize: “They may have changed numbers or bought a new phone.”

c. They think only the right people know their phone number. Victims believe callers contacted them for a reason, so they reach back. When they get a strange call, they expect it to be a service they signed up. But they ignore that scammers could have tracked their identity and found that contact data.

d. They wonder what would have happened if they answered. If you ignore the call, you may receive a voice message telling you to call back immediately. Although it may look sketchy, one’s curiosity could lead us to do just what the scammer expected.

Anyone can ignore a strange phone number. However, they keep calling at different times from different numbers. After dozens of missed calls, one may end up making the call to uncover the mystery.

Is A One-Ring Caller Trying To Scam You?

Is A One Ring Caller Trying To Scam You

If you phone them, by the time you hang off the phone, you’ll find a huge bill for the connection you made. But if you don’t, you won’t know if you missed an important call. What do you do?

Before you take action, look for these signs:

#1 Unknown Number/Extension

You get a one-ring call from a strange number. Who could it be? The first thing to do is search for the number on Google.

Many times, that number may have called thousands of people before you, who will post online who it was. You can find where it comes from, whether it’s a company, what they want, and whether you should answer.

If the number appears nowhere, then look at the extension. Phone-call scammers always reach out from other countries. If you’re in the US and are not expecting any international calls (the code isn’t +1), don’t call back. If they call you from a remote country (Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam), the red flag is even brighter.

#2 No Address/Location

Most phone carriers show the caller’s country/location. One may spoof the phone number, but the location isn’t as easy to fake. Instead, you may find it like “Unknown Location” or “Cannot Locate.”

By default, all phone calls show the country the person is making them. Finding an Unknown Location message means the person is disguising the number on purpose. 

#3 You Can’t Answer Their Call

They’re calling you because they want to talk to you. Then, why hang off the phone so quickly? 

On top of that, they repeatedly call throughout the day as if they were asking for it. You think of calling them back because answering their calls is impossible. 

If you answered the one ring call by chance, they’d hang off immediately, then leave a voice message to call them back. Seriously?

#4 Convenient Calls

Not only they call repeatedly. They reach out on the least available moments of the day. Forget about business hours! These guys will call you in the middle of the night, so you have no chance to take their call.

Why so late? Perhaps because they’re calling from the other side of the planet (international scammers). When you wake up in the morning, you find a lot of voice messages. 

#5 Impersonation

Would you ignore a call from the IRS, the FBI, your lender, or your tax collector? Probably not. Many institutions have public numbers where you can call and consult. Some scammers spoof their numbers to disguise as credible institutions.

If you miss a call from the IRS or your bank, you’ll call back. 

The catch is, institutions never reach out by phone unless you gave them previous permission and were expecting them. Imposters, however, call you whenever it’s convenient for them.

Authorities rarely use the phone to communicate with you. Anyone who does it is probably not a real agent.

Learn More About IRS Imposter Scams

One-Ring Call Variations

One Ring Call Variations

After you call the number, the con man receives money from the large toll you’ll pay. Some of them go the extra mile and combine it with other phone scams.

#1 The Wangiri One-Ring Call

The Wangiri scams have their origin in Japan. The term itself in Japanese means “one (ring) and cut”.

The aim of these calls is to distract you while using an expensive line. They’ll spend a lot of time talking about the reason they called, making you questions, or asking for needless identification.

“When did you get our call?”

“What did the voice message say?”

“Have you got more of these in the past?”

How do you beat them? You either ignore the call or hang off immediately. Even if you answer a scammer’s call, they can get your money. The *72 Scam, for example, follows the same misdirection tactics, but the con man makes an excuse to make you press *72. The scammer calls, you answer, and you pay.

More about Telemarketer Scams here

#2 Mystery Charges

Once you’re talking with them, they may pull some tricks to subscribe you to programs you don’t need. 

“Can you hear me?”


“Do you want to stop the call?”

“Yes, please.”

“We’ll leave the call and reach back when it’s more convenient for you. Do you agree?”


Con men can cut an innocent “Yes” from the call records and link it to something else. Suddenly, you’re saying yes to their needless program, which charges you every month. Now, add up the cramming tactics and one-ring call costs.

#3 Telemarketer

If you’re calling a stranger, the best way to distract them is by having a sales pitch. A good proposition will have plenty to talk about and lead to questions. The victim will cover the call charges, whether they want the product or not!

Confidence tricks work well to retain their attention. You can promise them great rewards if they bear with you until the end of the call. 

It takes work to hang off the phone politely. The salesman’s excitement won’t let you talk until they’ve shared their five-minute offer. For an international call, imagine the charges you’ll get!

How To Get Rid Off Phone Scammers Once And For All

How To Get Rid Off Phone Scammers Once And For All

Phone scams can quickly become overwhelming problems. While you were about your business, these agents signed you into fifty different programs. You need to contact them one by one, following an unsubscription process that’s a pain to go through.

Even worse, falling for one phone scam motivates more phone scammers to contact you and you will probably make it to an internal robocall scam list. Now, you can stop all this madness with some simple prevention steps.

#1 The Do Not Call List

If you somehow answered their call, tell them to get you out of their list. You can also register your number on the national registry to avoid future telemarketing calls.

Mind that scammers may still call despite your efforts. The best way to stop their calls is to never answer the phone.

#2 Block The Number

You may think: “If I don’t answer the number, they will keep bothering me until I do.”

You block the number from your phone or install an app that does it. Some of them block every single number you didn’t register on your contacts list. 

Knowing the spoofing tactics, do not assume the number displayed shows the real address. One contact may change phone numbers to disguise for its victims. 

#3 Ignore The Message

When getting too many calls, it’s easy to feel annoyed or disturbed. It makes you want to call and argue with them, threaten, or tell them to stop calling you.

For a scammer, your thoughts don’t matter that match. All that matters is that you did answer the phone. Now, they can sell your number to other scammers because they’ve proved you will respond.

Ignoring the voice mails is the fastest way to get rid of unwanted calls.

#4 Have A Call Assistant

Even if you choose not to call back, curiosity may still consume you throughout the day. Who was that person? What if I call? What if it’s that old friend I haven’t met for a while?

A phone call assistant tells you everything about the caller before you jump on a call. It’s free for both people, and it removes awkward introductions.

“Who are you?”

“Why are you calling?”

“How did you get this number?”

“I’m not available. Can you call later?”

If a caller doesn’t reply to your questions, the call may not be that important after all. If they have a reason to contact you, they’ll share the details before the call. 

#5 Warn Friends And Family

Once you recognize the scam and protect yourself, help others. Chances are the con man who also has your inner circle’s contact information. Keep it simple:

“I got a fraudulent call from X. If this number calls you, do not answer/call back.”

It’s common for telemarketers to contact other members. First, they may call someone like a twelve-year-old, who then gives the phone to its parents. In essence, they’re looking for the decision-maker.

#6 Alternative Channels

If you get a call from someone you know, you should already have other means to contact them.

  • If it’s a friend, try social media and private messaging
  • If it’s a company, ask on their website
  • If it’s a stranger, you may send a short SMS

If someone really wants to contact you, they’ll have no problems using other methods. They’ll try on the phone several times first, then find out it doesn’t work and follow up with another format. If you can only contact them by phone, that’s a red flag.

Wrapping Up

Yes, those calls are annoying and inconvenient. They continue to call you until you find out how they got your information. Improve your online security, block unknown numbers, and never answer those calls. They’ll eventually give up and stop spamming your phone.

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