# (809) a scam!

1. Aug 16, 2005

### JamesU

We got this email. saying never to dial an (809) area code. it is fake and can scam you out on $2,500 Subject: DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809, 284 AND 876 THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PROVIDED TO US BY AT&T. 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 and pass it on to all your friends and family so they don't get scammed! MAJOR SCAM: Don't respond to Emails, phone calls, or web pages which tell you to call an "809" area 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$2400 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 lots of money.

There are lots of different permutations of this scam.

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:

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 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 US. Since 809 is not in the US, 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. homes that have 900 number blocking to avoid these kinds of
charges, do not work in preventing calls to the 809 area code.

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, just disregard
the message.

Be wary of e-mail, or calls, asking you to 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 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.

Please forward this entire message to your friends, family and colleagues to
help them become aware of this scam

2. Aug 16, 2005

snopes.com/crime/fraud/809.asp

3. Aug 16, 2005

### enigma

Staff Emeritus
Have people not learned to check snopes yet for any "the sky is falling" crap that gets circulated on the internet?

oi veh.

4. Aug 16, 2005

### FredGarvin

5. Aug 16, 2005

### GCT

where is AT&T these days?

6. Aug 16, 2005

### rachmaninoff

New Jersey?

7. Aug 16, 2005

### dduardo

Staff Emeritus
You should start using a spam filter. Mozilla Thunderbird which includes a built in baysian spam filter that is great.

http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/

Yes, another plug for mozilla. You can't blame them for coming out with good products.

Last edited: Aug 16, 2005
8. Aug 16, 2005

### Zanket

A related scam is a reality. I know because it happened to me. A couple years ago I got an extra charge on my landline phone bill for $15, with a vague description. I easily noticed the charge because I use a calling card for long distance, so my bill is usually for the same amount each billing cycle. I called Qwest, the provider. The rep told me that the charge was from an African company. What company I asked, and how did it get on my bill? I can’t tell you what company, we don’t have that info in our system, we just pass through the charges, she said, but you must have accessed a website that redirected you, she said. What? She explained that if you access particular web sites, they’ll hang up your internet connection and reconnect through the equivalent of a 1-976 (toll) number, except it shows up on the bill without a phone number. The rep’s attitude was that I brought the charge upon myself for browsing the web. My attitude was that it was Qwest’s responsibility to prevent this scam. She told me that Qwest cannot block such charges. It took several more calls and hours on the phone with Qwest reps to get them to remove the charge from my bill. What worked, I think, was only that they knew I’d keep calling back and it wasn’t worth$15 to them. I sent a mail to my state’s attorney general explaining that Qwest is participating in a scam that can potentially bankrupt people (they get a significant percentage of the charge they "just pass through", so it’s no wonder they think they can’t prevent it). As it stands, I still have a landline phone for internet access, and as far as I know I’m still at risk from the scam.

9. Aug 16, 2005

### TheStatutoryApe

I found a site or two like this aswell. I'm not sure how it worked but my computer warned me that it was switching connections. At the time I thought it was the site asking me if I wanted to do this but it may have actually been my firewall or something warning me.

10. Aug 17, 2005

11. Aug 17, 2005

### matthyaouw

Yomamma, there are 3 rules regarding forwarded emails:

1- Don't open them.
2- In case you did open one, don't believe anything they say. Make efforts to check up on facts if you havn't already dismised them as crap.
3- On the off chance that you ignored both one and two, do not waste my time with them.

12. Aug 17, 2005

### Zanket

Thanks! I'll check that out. I've since switched to WinXP (from Win2000) and keep updated with its malicious software removal tool, among the other updates. Maybe that helps too.

13. Aug 17, 2005

WinXP also has a built-in firewall. That, by itself, might help. You should also look at AdAware (there is a free version). Most people who use one use both. They protect your system in complementary ways.

Last edited: Aug 17, 2005
14. Aug 17, 2005

### FredGarvin

As a little addendum to that...You need to have SP2 installed to get the firewall feature for XP. I had to install that service pack to get it.

The guys at Lavasoft do great work.