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SCAM

by cellhound    Feb 5, 2004, 10:05 AM

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 lot 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 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.

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