As a whole, Americans have received an estimated 5.46 billion robocalls January-August 2023. While many carriers offer call filters that automatically forward spam calls to voicemail, Enterprise Apps Today estimates the average person receives 17 spam calls every day. Those numbers have you wondering “whatever happened to that Do Not Call List?”

We’ll save you from Googling the answer to the questions. 11 states maintain their own “Do Not Call” lists, but neither Idaho nor California are on that list. However, the Idaho Attorney General’s website does say that it is illegal for telephone solicitors to call Idaho phone numbers who signed up for the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. California also uses the federal list. It’s free to sign up for that list and once you’re on it for good. 

Tero Vesalainen
Tero Vesalainen
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Idaho law DOES allow charities, political campaigns, debt collectors, surveyors, information providers and a business you’ve done business with to call Idaho numbers on the FTC list. California’s Department of Justice has a similar list of actors that are allowed to contact residents with a California number even if they’re on the “Do Not Call” list. 

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Companies or organizations that don’t fall under one of those categories that DO plan on making unsolicited calls to potential customers in Idaho are required to register with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. If they don’t they are absolutely NOT allowed to move forward with any agreements made with customers during one of these illegal phone calls. Telephonic Sellers in California need to go through a similar process, submitting their information to the AG’s Consumer Law Section, Telemarketing Unit no less than 10 days before placing calls in California. 

Tero Vesalainen
Tero Vesalainen
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But you know who doesn’t care about these rules? Scammers. Scammers who are hoping you’ll be curious enough about getting a call from a number that you don’t recognize that you’ll call them back. 

What is a One Ring Scam?

One of the most common phone scams that Idahoans fall for is a “one ring scam.” This is when your phone rings once and then the number hangs up without leaving you a voicemail. Or sometimes they will leave you a voicemail claiming that they’re trying to reach you about a delivery, you owe money to the IRS or a relative is in the hospital and trying to reach you. In both cases, they want you to call back. 

Rafael Abdrakhmanov
Rafael Abdrakhmanov
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You shouldn’t do that. If you do, there’s a possibility that your next phone bill is going to have an unpleasant surprise on it. According to the Federal Communications Commission, a lot of scammers will use a phone number with a three-digit area code. These numbers aren’t usually American phone numbers, which means if you call them back, you could be racking up international fees. The FCC explains: 

If you call back, you risk being connected to a phone number outside the U.S. As a result, you may wind up being charged a fee for connecting, along with significant per-minute fees for as long as they can keep you on the phone. These charges may show up on your bill as premium services, international calling, or toll-calling. 

Area Codes Scammers Are Most Likely to Use

It’s impossible for the average person to memorize every three digit area code. Heck, a lot of Idahoans can’t remember that the state actually has a second area code. Until 2017, 208 was Idaho’s only area code but as the state grew, it began running out of seven digit phone numbers. That’s why the state started issuing phone numbers with a 986 area code too. And California? Its public utilities commission lists 40 area codes for the Golden State. 

It’s much easier to remember a handful of area codes to avoid and according to SocialCatfish.com, these are the area codes that Idahoans and Californians should NOT answer phone calls from unless they are expecting a call from someone in these areas. 

Five Area Codes Scammers Use to Scam Unsuspecting Idahoans and Californians

According to SocialCatfish.com, these are area codes that Idahoans and Californians should avoid answering calls from. They're international numbers frequently associated with phone scams. Answering them or calling them back could result in high international calling fees.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

KEEP READING: Idahoans Keep Falling for These 6 Common Scams

According to the Boise Police, these are some of the most common scams Idahoans will encounter over the phone, mail or online.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

The 5 Best Places to Get Cash Back for Gift Cards You Can't Use in Boise

Gift cards are thoughtful and usually pretty helpful gifts...unless someone bought you a gift card for a store that doesn't have a location within 100+ miles of Boise. Rather than hang on to those and let them go to waste, these are some places you can sell them for cash! We tried some of the options out with a hypothetical $25 Dunkin' Donuts gift card to see who offered the best deal.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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