Scams Coming from Area Codes: 809 , 284 and
While there is a
hoax email circulating about calls coming from area codes 809, 284 and 876,
these area codes are the source for a large number of scams.
- "809" - Dominican Republic.
- "284" - British Virgin Islands.
- "876" - Jamaica.
Scammers in these area can make money two ways:
Consumers are tricked into dialing these international phone numbers,
which would result in substantial long-distance charges. That is possible because
there a few regions outside the U.S., which includes the
Caribbean and Canada, that can be dialed directly without the usual "011"
The phone numbers appear to be in the United States, but of
course, the same laws don't apply. This makes these areas ideal for
scammers who which to target U.S. citizens.
And since these numbers are outside the United States, the U.S. requirement to inform callers in advance of any special rates or fees
doesn't apply. Scammers typically trick victims into dialing the numbers by leaving
a message that claims that a relative has been injured or arrested, an unpaid account must be
settled, or a cash prize can be claimed, etc. When the victim returns the call, they
are kept on the line for as long as possible to run up additional charges. The
bill for such a call can be substantial (though not nearly as high as $2,400 per
minute claimed in the email).
AT&T advises that consumers always check the location of unfamiliar area
codes before dialing. This can be done by visiting
www.consumer.att.com or simply Googling the area code (e.g.,
area code 809) and viewing the top result.
AT&T offers the following information and tips:
- Only return calls to numbers that are familiar to you.
As a general rule, return calls from numbers that contain familiar or
recognizable area codes. You may call your directory assistance or long
distance operator to check the area code location.
- Carefully read your telephone bill. Make sure that you
only receive charges from your provider of choice. Ensure you thoroughly
understand charges listed on your phone bill, have chosen to do business
with all of the listed providers billing for those charges and have
authorized additional fees invoiced. If your local service provider has
changed, you will receive a final bill from the former provider and a notice
of service disconnection.
If you believe that you have been scammed:
- Contact the carrier with whom the charge originated, whose name and
toll-free telephone number should be printed on the same bill page as the
charge in question. Often, the problem can be resolved with a single phone
- If the carrier with whom the charge originated does not agree to resolve
contact AT&T. AT&T will work with you and the carrier to help remove
fraudulent charges from the phone bill.
You may file a complaint online with the
Federal Communications Commission about this and/or related phone scams.
Report of an area code 876 scam":
I received today (May 5, 2008) a telephone
lottery scam. The caller (non-English accent) stated that they were "Blue
Fountain (Largest or Lottery) Company" and that I had won 2.5 Million
dollars. They were unable to tell me exactly how I came about winning this
sum and gave several possible ways. The caller ID showed "unknown caller".
However, to claim this prize I must call-back the call-agents manager for
more information at this number: 876-565-1907