Skip to main content

BBB: Don't be a victim of 473 one-call phone scam


Better Business Bureau officials in Minnesota and North Dakota are warning people about a thriving phone scam, FOX 9 reports.

The fraud typically involves a scam company using a computer to call random cell phones with what looks like a 473 area code – and promptly hanging up after one ring. Officials warn that 473 is an international code for Granada, and curious cell phone users who call back can very quickly ring up big international-call bills. Charges can amount to $19.95 for an international call and $9 per minute after you answer, Consumerist reports, noting that officials fear the scam is fast spreading across the country.

The scam is a new version of old "ring and run" frauds, and it utilizes a common tactic called cramming, in which a third-party company adds unauthorized or deceptive charges to your bill without you being aware of it.

As the Federal Trade Commission notes, mobile phone carriers allow third parties to place charges on your phone bill (often it is fairly small-ticket items like ring tones that might go unnoticed by a consumer), so you can end up with charges from random companies on your bill.

In this case, the charges are for long distance calls you never would have made or accepted if you had known the source. But you get billed anyway.

Officials say there's a simple way to beat this scam: Don't answer and don't call back.

Forbes reports that there are other international area codes to watch out for that have been used in similar scams: 809, 284, 649 and 876.

The Better Business Bureau recently released its list of top scams of 2013.

Here's a short video on cramming from the FTC:

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.


Don't be fooled by this Xcel Energy phone scam

It's tricking people into giving out their card details.

Minnesotans duped out of $30M each year by phone scams

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says they average about 25,000 phone solicitation complaints a year. Authorities tell KARE 11 not to be tricked into thinking the call is legitimate because of what's registering on your Caller ID.