International phone call scams: Officials warn about scam calls from Sierra Leone, other countries

Local police departments across the country and the Federal Communications Commission are warning people about scam calls appearing to come from another country, such as Sierra Leone.

KOKI reported that the Sand Springs Police Department in Oklahoma says the calls could be connected to the "Wangiri," or "one ring" scam.

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In this scam, people receive a phone call from an unknown number -- oftentimes from another country and featuring a "+"  symbol in front of the number. These calls drop as soon as a user answers, or may leave a message when a user does not answer.

According to KLTV, that the calls tend to happen overnight and early Friday morning.

Sand Springs police say not to return the calls as it is an attempt by scammers to collect money. Calling back the international number can lead to high phone charges, KLTV reported.

The FCC lists the following tips to avoid such a scam.

  • 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.

If you think you have been a victim of the scam and have been billed as a result, the FCC says to try to resolve it with your phone company first. If it is not resolved directly, a complaint can be filed with the FCC for free. Consumers who think they are victims of a phone scam can file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission at

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