Telephone Scams - this is not a hoax
SCAM ALERT FROM VERIZON - AREA CODE 809
DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809 or 242, 246, 264, 268, 284, 345, 441, 473, 664,758, 767, 784, 787, 868, 869, 876 as well as 809.
This scam is being distributed all over the U.S. It is pretty scary
especially given the way they try to get you to call.
Don't respond to Emails, phone calls, or web pages which tell you to call an
"809" Phone Number.
This is a very important issue of Scam Busters because it alerts you to a
scam that is spreading extremely quickly - can easily cost you $24,000 or
more, and is difficult to avoid unless you are aware of it.
We'd like to thank Verizon for bringing this scam to our attention.
This scam has also been identified by the National Fraud Information Center
and is costing victims a lot of money.
There are lots of different permutations of this scam.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
You will receive a message on your answering machine or your pager, which
asks you to call a number beginning with area code 809.
The reason you're asked to call varies. It can be to receive information
about a family member who has been ill, to tell you someone has been
arrested, died, to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc.
In each case, you are told to call the 809 number right away.
Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return
If you call from the U.S., you will apparently be charged $2,425 per minute.
Or, you'll get a long recorded message.
The point is, they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to
increase the charges. Unfortunately, when you get your phone bill, you'll
often be charged more than $24,100.00.
WHY IT WORKS:
The 809 area code is located in the British Virgin Islands (The Bahamas).
The 809 area code can be used as a "pay-per-call" number, similar to 900
numbers in the U.S.
Since 809 is not in the U.S., it is not covered by U.S. regulations of 900
numbers, which require that you be notified and warned of charges and rates
involved when you call a "pay-per-call" number.
There is also no requirement that the company provide a time period during
which you may terminate the call without being charged.
Further, whereas many U.S. phones have 900 number blocking to avoid these
kinds of charges, 900 number blocking will not prevent calls to the 809 area
We recommend that no matter how you get the message, if you are asked to call
a number with an 809 area code that you don't recognize and/or investigate
further and just disregard the message.
It's important to prevent becoming a victim of this scam, since trying to
fight the charges afterwards can become a real nightmare. That's because you
did actually make the call.
If you complain, both your local phone company and your long distance carrier
will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are
simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You'll end up dealing
with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong.
Things are about to get worse, because that infamous off-shore area code
(809) is in the process of breaking up into smaller chunks, and you'll soon
have to think twice about calling any of the following area codes:
242, 246, 264, 268, 284, 345, 441, 473, 664, 758, 767, 784, 787, 868, 869,
876 as well as 809.
Please forward this entire message to your friends, family and colleagues to
help them become aware of this scam.
AT&T's fraud information page: