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Sheriff’s office issues phone scam warning

The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning about a scam that puts victims on the hook for costly telephone charges.

The warning, issued in conjunction with the Better Business Bureau, is especially aimed at cell phone users, who are most vulnerable to the scam.

Sheriff’s Lt. Matt McGuire said Friday that the phone calls are part of a scheme being perpetrated by scammers who anticipate victims’ curiosity getting the better of them.

“If you receive a phone call from area codes belonging to places such as Grenada or Antiqua, and the phone rings only once, the Better Business Bureau warns people not to call back,” said McGuire. “The scheme works only if victims call the numbers back, at which point they’re usually connected with international adult entertainment or chat lines. People are then on the hook for extensive phone charges.”

Better Business Bureau President and CEO Dana Badgerow said scams of this nature will likely die down fairly quickly. However, stressed Badgerow, “they’ll pop up again in another form.”

In addition to Grenada (473) and Antiqua (268), other area codes that have been reportedly popping up on local cell phones include the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876) and the British Virgin Islands (284).

The Better Business Bureau suggests that cell phone users keep an eye on their statements and contact their carriers if they notice strange or unauthorized charges