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Experts warn Memphians about robocall scam from Sierra Leone

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Did you get a call, or maybe six, from a 232 area code from Sierra Leone in West Africa?

If so, you are far from the only one.

Nancy Crawford, with The Memphis Better Business Bureau, unfortunately is familiar with the "One Ring Scam."

In Memphis, the calls often rang in the middle of the night. The robocalls came in burst, and the caller would hang up after a ring or two.

The Federal Communications Commission says the scammer is probably trying to get the person to call the number back, resulting in high toll charges.

So why is Memphis a target? We asked a spokesperson with the FCC.

"Our suspicion is that they're just hitting area codes randomly. So they will just flood. Last Wednesday or Thursday it was Syracuse, New York."

Crawford says The Better Business Bureau has gotten questions about the annoying trend. She told us her office has issued warnings about robocalls like this since 2014.

She says a big piece of advice is "don't answer the call."

As far as making the calls stop Crawford says, "At this point, I don't think there's really anything that can stop the calls. The main thing for consumers to do is to not call them back."

But there are some safeguards that might help prevents similar style scams. Some phone companies, like AT&T and Verizon, offer safeguards.

There's also various apps you can download to protect yourself. One of them is called Wide Protect. It will cost you, but it should cut down on the calls.

"Some of them are free, some of them do cost a little bit of money, but it's well worth it," Crawford said. She also recommends checking your phone bill for charges you don't recognize and to report calls to the FCC and Federal Trade Commission.

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