Telemarketing Scams (Click here for information)
Area Code. Do not respond to e-mail, phone calls, or web pages which
tell you to call an "809" phone number unless you are anticipating the
call. This is a scam. The area code is a valid area code for the
The scam works in this manner. You will typically
receive a message on your answering machine or your pager, which asks
you to call the 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, etc. In each
case, you are told to call the 809 number right away. If you call from
the U.S., you will be charged $2,425/per minute. You will get a long
recorded message and they will try to keep you on the phone as long as
Because the 809 area code is located in the British
Virgin Island, the 809 area code can be used as a "pay-per-call"
number. There is no requirement that the company provide a time period
during which you may terminate the call without being charged, as they
are not bound by U.S. regulations of 900 numbers.
Victims of this scam, who have tried to fight these
charges, get little response from their local phone company. They end
up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing
wrong. They will assert that you did make the call and owe the charges.
It is recommended that no matter how you receive the
message to call the 809 area code, do not return the call unless you
recognize the phone number or are able to investigate the message
further. Be cautious of all area codes you do not recognize.
Service Technician. A "service technician"
may call you indicating that their company is completing testing on
your telephone line. You will be asked to assist the company by
depressing your flashhook or transfer button and dialing a particular
set of numbers along with the * or # key on your telephone keypad.
Refuse to assist them with this test and refer them to the Office of
Business Services. The dialing pattern they are asking you to complete
may give them access to placing a long distance call and billing the
charges to your phone number. As a general rule, do not dial "9", "0",
or the # or * key for anyone.