Telephone Scams

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A major telephone company has provided important information about a new telephone scam that can cost telephone customers thousands of dollars with one simple telephone call. Please read the following information carefully then tell your family and friends about this scam and tell them to pass on the information to their friends or family. There are numerous telephone area codes throughout this country, as well as other countries throughout the world. Most people think the "800" series of area codes are all toll free calls, but that is not always the case. This recent telephone scam has an area code of "809."

One variation of the scam includes a message left on your answering machine from one of the scam artists. The message left on your machine may vary, but it may state that one of your family members are ill, in jail, have passed away, or even to state that you have won a valuable prize. One example of a message left by a scam artist said, "Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you-get back to us quickly. Have something important to tell you." This scam artist then left a return telephone number starting with the "809" area code.

The reason this scam is so costly to innocent victims is because the "809" area code is in the British Virgin Islands (The Bahamas). The "809" area code there can be used as a pay per call number, similar to the "900" series of area codes here. If you return the call, you will either receive a long message on a machine, or you will speak with someone who will try and keep you on the phone as long as they can. The reason they are doing this is you will be billed $2425.00 per minute!

Since this number is not in the United States, our laws do not govern it. Even if you have the "900" series of area codes blocked with your phone company, the "809" area code will not be blocked. Apparently, local telephone companies will claim they are not responsible for the billing and refer you to the foreign country for collections because it is a different company. Needless to say, it can be a nightmare to repair the damage done by these calls.

If you have any suspicious messages left on your answering machine, use your good judgment. Either don't return the call, or contact the telephone company and ask about the area code to see if it is a charge call.