HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Scammers are always coming up with different ways to take your hard-earned cash. According to Inc.com scammers are hiding behind certain area codes that appear to be U.S. numbers, but are actually international.
There are three different variations of the so-called "473 scam."
In the first version of the scam, criminals use robo-dialers to call their potential victims, and hang up before anyone picks up the phone. Another version of the scam waits for the target to answer, then plays a recording of someone pleading for help or being attacked before hanging up. The third version of the scam operates much like this, except using text messages to ask for help.
In all of these cases, the criminal wants you to call or text back. To protect yourself do not call or text back.
According to Inc.com, unless you know someone from the following countries, it's best to not answer or return calls from these area codes:
242 - Bahamas
441 - Bermuda
784 - St. Vincent and Grenadines
246 - Barbados
473 - Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique
809, 829, and 849 - Dominican Republic
264 - Anguilla
649 - Turks and Caicos
868 - Trinidad and Tobago
268 - Antigua
664 - Montserrat
876 - Jamaica
284 - British Virgin Islands
721 - St. Maarten
758 - St. Lucia
869 - St. Kitts and Nevis
345 - Cayman Islands
767 - Dominica
RELATED: Experts warn of phone scammers asking, 'can you hear me?'
Avoid scammers: Don't answer calls or texts from these area codes