After leaving Cowboys about 9:30 Friday night, not that the Louisiana Throwdown wasn’t fun or I’m not a fun guy, but I get up very early and usually go to bed very early so when I was yawning at Luna’s at dinner even before the Throwdown I knew it would be an early night. But that’s not the story, here’s the story: when I got back into the hotel room and checked my phone I saw that I’d missed a call earlier from Russia.

Puzzling a bit but I didn’t lose sleep over it but the next morning the phone rang once and before I could get to it I’d missed a call from Senegal and in about another hour after a single ring I’d missed a call from Austria! Now over my life I’ve gotten around some and seen some things and places but so far not to Russia, Austria or Senegal. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone from those places either so I went to the trusty internets and did a few searches and discovered “one ring missed phone calls from unknown numbers” the ‘one-ring’ aspect is key. If this begins to happen to you it’s a scam called the ‘one-ring scam’ and the minute you call back the meter on your cell billing starts clicking. I didn’t call back of course – I don’t like to talk on the phone to start with, this is information I learned online about the scam.

The scammers will lease an International Premium Rate Number (IPRN) from a reseller and have acquired your cell number from the usual sources (remember that time you entered your phone number on the internet?) they call your number and hang up after one ring, the keys to the scam are: A) it’s human nature to wonder who was trying to call them and you’ll want to call them back, and B) that instinct is amplified when the call seems to originate from some exotic location i.e., Russia, Senegal or Austria. “Wow, who’s calling ME from Bangkok?! It must be important.” No, it isn’t.

And when you call back the number the meter is ticking and the articles I read said the scammers of course will have a “thank you for calling, all operators are busy with something, please hold” recording, etc., and nice music for you to listen to that will keep you on the phone as long as possible until you finally get mad and hang up. When the bill comes and you whine to your provider it’s too bad – you made the call, you waited on hold all of your own free will. Your provider will politely tell you they can’t control to whom you place calls.

Naturally if your friend Bob or sister Sue calls and the phone only rings once that’s not gonna likely be a scam, but if you get a one-ring call from a foreign country related to the old soviet bloc, eastern Europe, parts of Africa and the middle and far east don’t call them back.

If it’s legitimate they’ll leave you a message or send a text and it’s probably still good wisdom to leave it alone.