This happens to just about everyone: your phone rings and it's some area code and phone number that you've never seen before.

Chances are, it's a scammer.

And while it's tempting to answer the call to find out who it is (maybe it was someone you know), just to mess with the person on the other end, or call that number back, experts say you should never do any of those things (keep reading for why).

Research from GoBankingRates.com has revealed which area codes are most commonly used by scammers.

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They flat-out say, "you should never answer if you don’t know who’s on the other end of the line," especially when one of these area codes appears on your phone.

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Some of them are from large cities like New York or foreign countries, especially tropical islands, but a few are from remote areas like western Iowa.

  • 216 - Cleveland
  • 232 - Sierra Leone
  • 268 - Antigua and Barbuda
  • 284 - British Virgin Islands
  • 332, 347, 646 - New York City
  • 469 - Dallas
  • 473 - Grenada, Carriacou, Petite Martinique
  • 649 - Turks and Caicos Islands
  • 657 - La Palma, CA
  • 664 - Montserrat
  • 712 - Iowa
  • 218 - Northern Minnesota
  • 767 - Commonwealth of Dominica
  • 809, 829, 849 - Dominican Republic
  • 876 - Jamaica

GoBankingRates.com goes into detail about a bunch of new types of ways scammers are catching unsuspecting victims -- their website is definitely worth a read -- but one item is worth highlighting: why you should never call back an unknown phone number.

A scammer doesn't have to access your credit card or banking information to get money from you.

woman holding mobile phone with incoming call from unknown caller
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One-ring scams

A one-ring scam is just that. A bad actor will make your phone ring once, maybe twice. You see the missed call and hit redial to find out who it was.

When you do that, "they might charge a connectivity fee and per-minute fees for what will appear on your bill as premium services."

Without giving them any information, you're losing money.

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Google is your friend

Or any search engine, for that matter. If an unknown number calls you, search for it and see what comes up.

If a bunch of gibberish appears associated with that phone number, don't call back. Or, even better, perhaps you'll find that other people have already reported it as a scam.

Not just calls

Scams via text message are also becoming more and more common. Keep an eye out for things like this:

Don't get fooled: Here's 24 scam texts I received in just one month

Although some may be humorous, others appear legit. Here are 24 texts I received in just one month's time, as well as one I'm surprised I never got.

Spam texts are listed in the same order that was received.

Up or down? Average property tax changes in NJ in 2022

Below are the average property tax bills for every municipality in New Jersey last year.

The towns are listed from the biggest cut in the average bill to the highest increase. On the county maps, the deeper red color means a higher increase above 2% whereas the darker green signifies a smaller increase or a reduction.

Each listing also shows how the average tax bill is split among the county, school and municipal governments.

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