One-Ring Call Scams

Short-duration call scams try to trick you into calling back and racking up unexpected costs.


Your phone rings once and the call stops. The bad guy on the other end hopes you call the number back to see who it was or what it was about. As soon as you do, you’ll hear a recorded message that is intended to keep you on the phone, or worse, to get you to call back a second time.

For example, the message may say: “Hello … hello? … I’m having trouble hearing you. Hello? … Will you please call back?”

Every time you call, you will be charged high international rates or other connection fees. The bad guy gets all or part of those fees.

A new example of how the bad guys try to keep you on the phone is by telling you: “You’ve received a song from someone who loves you. After listening to this song you will find out who sent this song as a gift.” The longer you stay on the call, the more you pay. And the more the bad guy makes.

These scams are also known as “Wangiri,” which comes from Japan where the scam originated years ago and means one-ring-and-cut. (One ring and done.)

What To Do

Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. This is good advice in general, because it can help protect you from other scams, such as spoofing. (Learn more here.)

If you receive a one-ring call from an unknown number, do not call that number back.

If you return to your phone and have a missed call from an unknown number, resist the urge to call it back. Restrain your curiosity to better protect yourself from scams.

If you do return a missed call, watch for a + to appear ahead of the area code. The plus sign signals an international call being placed – which means international calling rates. If that’s the case, hang up immediately.

And if you hear an odd message, one similar to the example above, hang up immediately. The longer you stay on the line, the more you are being charged for the call.

More Information

We are continually updating our systems to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and block calls from suspicious numbers. However, bad guys know this and frequently change the numbers they use.

If you receive a suspicious call like this, let us know. You can report a suspicious number here.