I just received this from an employee of MCI Worldcomm, and while I haven't
checked it out yet, the source is reliable.
Subject: Fwd: FW: SCAM be Informed
DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809
This one is being distributed all over the US. This is pretty scary
especially given the way
they try to get you to call. Be sure you read this & pass it on to all your
friends & family so they
don't get scammed!
MAJOR SCAM: Don't respond to Emails, phone calls, or web pages which tell
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 $24100 or more, and is difficult to avoid unless you are
of it. This scam has also been identified by the National Fraud Information
and is costing victims a lot of money. There are lots of different
this scam, but 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 these
calls. If you call from the US, you will apparently be charged $2425
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
more than $24100.00.
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,
900 numbers in the US. Since 809 is not in the US, it is not covered by
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 code.
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, investigate
further and/or disregard the message. Be wary of email or calls asking you
call an 809 area code number. 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 our 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. Please forward
this entire message to your
friends, family and colleagues to help them become aware of this scam so
don't get ripped off.