On Saturday, I missed a call on my cell phone that says it came from Antigua/Barbuda. At first I thought it was a telemarketer trying to sell me a vacation to one of these Caribbean islands. I was with my friend Susan when I noticed the call, and she said she received the same missed phone call on her phone. Neither of us had a voice mail from the number.

The next day, a friend posted on Facebook about the particular scam that’s happening with these calls. When I reposted it, two of my nieces said they had gotten the same call. If four other people I know have gotten this call on their phones, I figure this scam must be rampant. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about the scam, and KSHB out of Kansas City has the details.

If you get this call, the phone will only ring once, and then the automated dialer that called you will hang up. A number with the names of Caribbean islands will show up on your missed calls list. If you redial the number, you can be charged $20 for the first minute and $9 for each additional minute.

I told my boys about the scam, and I think it’s important for everyone to tell their kids about this. It’s not a good idea in general for kids to redial phone numbers that they are unfamiliar with, but they often will. One of the reasons they do it is because, as my boys have told me, “nobody leaves messages.”

It seems when kids call a friend, and the friend doesn’t pick up, it’s apparently understood among the younger generation that a call showing up on the missing calls list means “call me back.”

This drives me crazy. My boys will call me and not leave a message. If I don’t call back, they ask why. I’ll tell them if it was important, they should have left a message or texted me. They seem confused. A missed call, to them, is a message. And the generation gap continues.

Calling this scam message back, though, can add a hefty charge to the monthly phone bill. Warn your kids about the scam (and your friends and family) so that no one has to pick up the tab just because they hit redial.

Have you gotten one of these phone calls?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Warning: Kids could innocently add $20 to phone bill with the touch of a button
A rampant scam can add $20 more to your phone bill if you hit redial. Make sure your kids know not to call the scammers back.