, Muskogee, OK

February 4, 2014

Beware of new ‘ring and run’ scam

— OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahomans need to beware. A scam from the past has found new life. This scam is referred to as a “ring and run” because victims receive calls on their cell phones from area code 473, the call rings once and disconnects. The instinct is to call back — don’t, a media release states.

“If the call is important, the caller is going to leave a voice mail,” said Elaine Dodd, an Oklahoma Bankers Association vice president. “A missed call without a voice message tends to be a wrong number. If it is a missed call from someone you know, their name and number should be in your phone already to identify the call. If it is important, they’ll leave a message, continue to call or even text you.

“You should never return a call to a number you aren’t familiar with. If you are tempted to return the phone call, at least do an online search for the number before you call and see what you come up with.”

According to the Better Business Bureau in Cleveland, Ohio, when the area code is 473, it appears the call is domestic, but it is not. It is an international call connected to a paid international adult entertainment service, “chat” line or other premium service. When victims return the call, they are billed an international call fee of $19.95 in addition to per-minute charges for the premium service, which can be $9 per minute or more.

Area code 473 is connected to Grenada. Other area codes consumers should be aware of in relation to this scam are:

268, Antigua or Barbuda; 809, Dominican Republic; 876, Jamaica; 284, British Virgin Islands; 473, Grenada; 649, Turks and Caicos.