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'One ring' phone scam resurfacing in Canada

No reports of scam in Sudbury yet
The "one ring" or "missed call" scam has resurfaced across Canada of late, though it hasn't hit Greater Sudbury Police Service's radar as of yet. (File)

Most phone scams, and scams in general, are cyclical.

They pop up for a few weeks or months then disappear for a while, before reappearing with a slightly different iteration, but all in all it's the same scam.

The "one ring" or "missed call" scam has resurfaced across Canada of late, though it hasn't hit Greater Sudbury Police Service's radar as of yet. 

Called the "one ring scam", people who have been targeted receive a call where their home or cell phone rings once and the caller hangs up. No voicemail is left and the target is left with nothing more than a phone number that they don't recognize.

Where the scam part kicks in is when curiosity hits and the target calls the number back to find out who might have been trying to contact them. Instead of reaching a person on the other end, the call will lead to a pay-per-call type of scenario, with hefty long distance charges attached.

There have been reports of these types of calls in both Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario recently, and a representative from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says that they have been seeing an uptick in these "one ring" calls since late last year.

"We started seeing reports late last year, but we haven't noticed any trends of yet," said Lisanne Roy Beauchamp. "This is something that has come up before and seems to be resurfacing of late."

Here in Sudbury, the GSPS has yet to receive any complaints about such calls, according to spokesperson Kaitlynn Dunn, who says the police service's community response centre in Azilda has not yet received any complaints.

This doesn't mean that the scam calls haven't been made however, they just haven't been reported.

"The best advice we can offer is don't answer and don't call back," said Roy Beauchamp, who says that due to the strange nature of the scam, no investigation has been opened.

"It's tough to open an investigation because we don't really know what the end game of this is. We have been seeing some reports from consumers who have seen some long distance charges, but that is dealt with through their phone service provider."

If you or someone you know has received a call like this, you can report it to the GSPS at 705-675-9171 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

You can also familiarize yourself with the CAFC's little black book of scams.


Matt Durnan

About the Author: Matt Durnan

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