Information Security

Dial ‘F’ for Fraud — ‘One-ring’ Telephone Scams can Result in Big Phone Charges

Image of a phone with Fraud and Scam on the screen

The USPS® Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) is warning employees of a scam involving “one-ring” telephone calls.

Here’s how the scam works — the victim receives a telephone call that rings only once or the caller hangs up just as the victim answers the phone. Believing it might be important, the victim returns the call.

The victim then is connected to a “premium adult service” or “chat line” and typically is charged a one-time fee of $19.95, according to the Better Business Bureau. In some instances, victims are charged hefty per-minute rates as long as they stay on the line.

Many of the calls appear to originate from area codes 809 (Dominican Republic), 876 (Jamaica), 284 (British Virgin Islands) or 473 (Grenada). But according to the Better Business Bureau, it’s possible the calls are originating elsewhere and scammers are “spoofing” the phone numbers to cover their tracks.

CIRT advises employees to avoid returning phone calls from unfamiliar numbers and especially from suspicious area codes. When in doubt, employees should be sure a phone number is legitimate before responding.

CIRT reports the “one-ring” scam has been around in various forms for many years. However, given current media coverage, the scam might inspire copycats. If in doubt, call 866-877-7247 or email