True or False Emails: Area Code Scam

Published Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:17 PM

I found that in checking my email account I received this one about 3 different times over the years. It involves receiving a call form an “809” area code. The caller leaves an urgent message on your voicemail (regarding a sick family member; someone in your family has dies; you have won a prize; anything to get you to call) and a phone number to call that starts with “809.” The information is reported to have been provided by AT&T and claims that this is being distributed all over the US. People return the call, even thought they don’t recognize the area code. Maybe they feel the area code is new. Here is the catch: if you call from the USA, it is reported you will be charged $2,425 a minute! Whoa! You might get a long, recorded message to listen to that ends in your phone bill being over $20,000 (remember: this is according to the email). This is because the area code is the British Virgin Islands!

Can you fix this with the phone company once you make the call? Your phone company might not want to deal with this one. Especially if you spent more than a minute or two on the phone.

Check out the full story on AT&T's website and please do not return calls to unfamiliar phone numbers without finding out where they lead. The internet makes it easy to track the originating area code these days. Also, beware that this affects more than the 809 area code. AT&T reports that 284 and 876 are dangerous too.

Look out for our next warning soon…

by parker
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