Telephone Fraud

Pager/E-mail Scams (including Area Code 809)


You get a page and you notice a number with an area code different from your own... so you think it must be important. You then return the call only to find it's a recording. In reality, you've just been SCAMMED! The call probably went to one of several new area codes in the Caribbean, is billed at an international rate, and the longer you stay on the line, the more it costs. What you'll hear is a lengthy recording, and the meter starts running as soon as you make the connection. The page is generated by a computer dialer, and the cost goes to the return caller, you!



Customers receive a message asking them to call a telephone number beginning with Area Code 809. The sender usually claims to have information about a sick relative, someone who has been arrested, an overdue account, or even about a prize you have won. These scam artists want you to call a certain number in Area Code 809 that is in the Caribbean. Callers are led to believe they are talking to a live person, but in fact it is a clever recording that responds to the caller's voice and is designed to keep the caller on line as long as possible. This phone number typically is a "pay-per-call" number (similar to Area Code 900 numbers) that oftentimes charges exorbitant fees. Since these telephone numbers are not U.S.-based numbers, they are not covered by U.S. regulations, such as those regulating Area Code 900 numbers that require notifying and warning callers of charges and rates involved. Also, they are not required to provide a time period during which you may terminate the call without being charged.

Calls can easily become very costly, and you will probably have to pay the charges. Since your local phone company and your long distance carrier are simply providing the connectivity and billing services for a call you made, you will have to deal with a foreign company and business that will argue that they have done nothing wrong.

Listed below are some other area codes in the Caribbean. One good rule of protection is: If you don't recognize a number do not respond. Also, check the front of your local telephone book for area code verification.

New area codes in the Caribbean in addition to 809:
Anguilla 264 Grenada 473
Antigua 268 Grenadines 784
Bahamas 242 Jamaica 876
Barbados 246 Montserrat 664
Barbuda 268 Nevis 869
Bermuda 441 Puerto Rico 787, 939
Brit. Virgin Islands 284 St. Kitts 869
Caicos Islands 649 St. Lucia 758
Carriacou 473 St. Vincent 784
Cayman Islands 345 Trinidad & Tobago 868
Dominica 767 Turks Island 649
Dominican Republic 809 US Virgin Islands 340


You can read more about this scam at the website listed below:

Call Forwarding Scam

  • You may receive an automated message on your telephone that says you have won a prize or money. This message directs you to dial a 2-digit code preceded or followed by the * or # key (such as *79 or 72#), and then an 800 number to claim your prize. When you dial the number, you are not connected to anyone. What this procedure has done, though, is program your telephone to forward your calls to a long distance operator. Con artists can then call your number, be forwarded to the long distance operator and place calls that are billed to your home telephone number.
  • If you receive this type of call, simply hang up. If you receive this message on your answering machine, do not place this call. No legitimate sweepstakes or contest would likely contact you in this manner.
  • Know the numbers used for Call Forwarding from your local telephone company.

Calling Card Protection

  • Make sure no one sees you key in your calling card number or overhears you stating it to the operator. Block the view of the keypad and speak directly into the phone. When possible, use a phone that reads your card automatically.
  • Do not use your calling card as an identification card.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately. The moment you suspect your calling card has been lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised, report it immediately to your card provider.
  • Memorize your calling card and PIN number. Select or change your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to an easily remembered number. Request that your PIN number not be printed on your calling card.

Wireless Tips

  • Remove handset and antenna from car when not in use. This will help avoid the unwanted attention of criminals with Electronic Serial Number (ESN) cloning devices.
  • Protect your Electronic Serial Number. Never give your ESN number to anyone. And don't put your subscriber agreement in an unsafe place, such as the glove compartment.
  • Never let anyone use your phone unless you are present. If someone wants to use your phone, offer to dial the number for him or her. Fraud criminals can easily access the codes stored in your phone.
  • Have service performed only at reputable locations. If you need service, take your phone only to an authorized distributor of your cellular service.
  • If stolen, call your local police and cellular carrier immediately. The sooner you do, the less likely the chance that your phone will be used fraudulently.