BRAINERD, Minn. (FOX 9) - A northern Minnesota area code is among the area codes most associated with spam phone calls.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, around 60 million Americans reported a phone scam in 2021. GoBankingRates has listed the top area codes you should never answer if you don't know who is on the other line, and that includes the 218 area code in northern Minnesota.
Here's a list:
- 216: Cleveland, Ohio
- 469: Dallas, Texas
- 657: La Palma, California
- 332: New York City
- 347: New York City
- 646: New York City
- 218: Northern Minnesota
- 712: Western Iowa
- 232: Sierra Leone
- 268: Antigua and Barbuda
- 284: British Virgin Islands
- 473: Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique
- 649: Turks and Caicos Islands
- 664: Montserrat
- 767: Commonwealth of Dominica
- 809, 829, 849: Dominican Republic
- 876: Jamaica
To avoid becoming a victim, the FCC issued the following tips:
- Don't answer or return any calls from numbers you don't recognize.
- Before calling unfamiliar numbers, check to see if the area code is international.
- If you do not make international calls, ask your phone company to block outgoing international calls on your line.
- Always be cautious, even if a number appears authentic.
Officials say you should never return a phone call from a number you don't recognize unless you've done the research first and identified it as a legitimate one. In the U.S., one-ring scams are gaining traction. They appear to be from phone numbers somewhere in the United States and resemble U.S. area codes.
Oftentimes, scammers also use international numbers from regions that also begin with three-digit codes and others even use spoofing techniques to hide the number you see in your caller ID display.
Authorities warn that if you call back, you risk being connected to a phone number outside the U.S., and may be charged a fee for connecting, along with costly per-minute fees for as long as you stay on the phone.
"These charges may show up on your bill as premium services, international calling, or toll-calling," the FCC said.
It's also important to remember government agencies like the IRS and Social Security Administration will never call you to confirm sensitive information.
If you are billed for a call you made as a result of this scam, first try to resolve the matter with your telephone company. If you are unable to resolve it directly, you can file a complaint with the FCC at no cost. You are also urged to file a complaint with the FTC if you believe you are the victim of an international phone scam.
To learn more about these scams and how to stop these calls, tap or click here.