The World Community for Racial Justice

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What Is the ‘Wangiri’ or 1-Ring Phone Scam?

Christopher Coble, Esq.

Wangiri” is Japanese for “one ring and drop,” and describes a specific phone scam designed to hook people into long phone calls at exorbitant rates. So how does it work, and what can you do to prevent it?

That Call Is Coming From Outside the Country

We all miss calls. But some of us are more curious about our missed calls than others. And if the caller doesn’t leave a voicemail, it can be tempting to dial that number back and find out who’s on the other end.

The Wangiri, or one-ring scam uses automated dialing machines to repeatedly dial phone numbers once and then hang up. Often, these calls will appear as “unknown caller” or “no caller id” — these can’t be blocked — and some will go beyond just one ring and will leave phony voice-mail messages urging you to call a number to “collect a prize” or to notify you about a “sick” relative.

But if you dial them back, your call is routed to a premium rate service which can charge both a connection fee and a pricey per minute rate. The Better Business bureau reports some victims are billed as much as $20 as an international call fee, and then $9 per minute or more, although some savvy scammers keep the prices lower to avoid suspicion. Once you’re on the call, scammers will try to keep you on as long as possible.

Hotline One-Ring

Obviously, the easiest way to combat the Wangiri is by not answering or returning any calls from numbers you don’t recognize. The Federal Communications Commission also recommends:

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Black Mayor in His Own City JP Morgan and Chase Bank called police

Banking While Black: Chase Calls Cops on Mayor Richard Thomas While Professionally and Peacefully Inquiring About His City’s Signature account

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas

Nationwide — On Monday, Mayor Richard Thomas discussed how staff at JP Morgan & Chase summoned the police on him, his staff member, and a Mount Vernon Police detective as the Mayor sought to deposit a six figure check and get access to the City’s online banking records.

A Chase employee called the police on Wednesday, April 25, after Mayor Thomas was invited into a conference room and after Mayor Thomas had introduced the two people with him, including the police detective.

The response by the White Plains Police Department was resolved amicably after one of the responding officers recognized the Mount Vernon Police detective.

Mayor Thomas believes that race certainly played a role in the Chase employees calling the police. The two staffers who accompanied Mayor Thomas are black and Hispanic.

As a Mayor and as a young, well-educated black man living during this turbulent time in society where police are being called on black people for going about everyday life, this is unacceptable,” Mayor Thomas wrote in a letter to Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. “We’ve seen this happen to the two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. We’ve also seen this happen to Oregon Rep. Janelle Bynum while she was campaigning. Now it happened to me.”

On Monday, Mayor Thomas will visit the Office of Currency Comptroller to file a racial profiling/redlining complaint.

Mayor Thomas was at Chase’s offices at 925 Westchester Avenue in White Plains to invoke existing rights as an authorized account signatory and enforce a recent court order giving him full access to all the City’s financial records.

Supreme Court Justice Susan Cacace recently ordered Mount Vernon Comptroller Deborah Reynolds to stop blocking Mayor Thomas’ access to the critical financial records that allow him to determine how much money the City truly has.

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