The Edmond Sun

February 3, 2014

Bankers warn consumers of ‘ring and run’ scam

Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — Oklahomans need to beware, the Oklahoma Bankers Association said Monday. A scam from the past has reinvented itself and has found new life. This scam is commonly 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 it to call back, but banking experts warn that would be a costly mistake.

“If the call is important, the caller is going to leave a voice mail,” said Elaine Dodd, Oklahoma Bankers Association vice president-fraud. “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 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 actually 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 conjunction to this scam are:

• 268 — Antigua or Barbuda,

• 809 — Dominican Republic,

• 876 — Jamaica,

• 284 — British Virgin Islands,

• 473 — Grenada, and

• 649 — Turks and Caicos.

The OBA conducts more than 70 educational programs and seminars each year, which reach more than 5,000 bankers across the state. The association represents about 230 banks across the state and serves as the primary advocate for the banking industry. It’s also heavily involved in fraud training and prevention as well as legal and compliance services and communications for its member banks.