We all get random calls from numbers we don't recognize, sometimes you take a chance and answer it or if you're like me, you let it go to voicemail.  Lately, I've been getting at least 3 or 4 calls a day even as late as 2 a.m., from Sierra Leone.  The numbers usually have a "232: country code.  I can assure you, I don't know anyone from that country.  In case  you don't know, Sierra Leone is a small country on the Southwest coast of West Africa.

Why am I getting these calls, at all hours of the night?  According to the FCC, this is a scam and hundreds of thousands of people are getting these calls on a daily basis.  The scam works like this. The scammers call you and usually only allow one ring or two and then hang up.  This is usually done with an software that auto dials hundres of numbers a minute.  Maybe you don't answer, but instead out of curiosity call the number back.  That's where the scam comes in.  This is a spoofed number(a fake number) masquerading as a toll number.  When you call the number back, you're charged a fee on your phone bill and may never even realize it.  Sometimes, people who get the calls accidentally dial the number back while trying to delete the call or block the number, so be careful when doing either of these things on your phone.

Here are some additional tips from the FCC

  • Do not call back numbers you do not recognize, especially those appearing to originate overseas.
  • File a complaint with the FCC if you received these calls
  • If you never make international calls, consider talking to your phone company about blocking outbound international calls to prevent accidental toll calls
  • Check your phone bill for charges you don’t recognize

Check with your service provider, to see if they offer any other tools to block these unwanted numbers.