Scam Alert: If You Get a 'One-Ring' Call in the Middle of the Night, Don’t Call Back /

If it seems you can't go a day without receiving unwanted phone calls, you're not alone. Robocalls are worse than they've ever been—as of last year, Americans received more than 4 billion of them in June 2018. Now, the Federal Communications Commission is now warning of a new fraud tactic known as the "one-ring" scam, USA Today reports.

Criminals employing this particular scam aren't depending on people to pick up their phones. Instead, the callers will dial and hang up quickly after the first ring so the recipient doesn't have time to answer the call. If the scam goes according to plan, the victim will call back the mysterious number, inadvertently opening themselves up expensive toll charges.

The Federal Communications Commission has confirmed reports of widespread calls in New York and Arizona connected to the scam, with most of them happening overnight. Robocalls use the number 222—the country code of the West African nation Mauritania. Whether the number is associated with Mauritania or some other country is beside the point—public officials are telling consumers not to answer calls from foreign numbers unless they're expected.

Hitting "ignore" on phone calls from foreign sources is an easy way to avoid robocalls, but not all scams are so obvious. Another common strategy is call spoofing, which is when the callers call from a fake number, usually one that shares an area code with the recipient. Until legislators and phone companies find a way to crack down on robocalls, the best way to avoid them is to ignore calls that don't match names in your contact list.

[h/t USA Today]