Recent Area Code Scam
Beware of a recent area code scam that has been surfacing recently in the United States. This long distance phone scam tricks consumers into incurring expensive charges to their phone bills. In most cases, people will receive an email or text message telling them to call a phone number with an 809, 649, 284 or 876 area code for compelling reasons such as to collect a prize or find out information about their sick family member. The consumer, unaware that an area code scam is even possible, dials the number. Instead of connecting to somebody within the United States, it dials Canada or the Caribbean phone numbers and charges international call rates to the unexpected victim. Usually, consumers don’t find out they’ve incurred a large phone bill until they receive their bill.
Investigation Hotline recommends the following to protect yourself from area code scams:
- Do not return calls to numbers that are unfamiliar to you. To stay safe, only return calls from numbers that contain familiar or recognizable area code. If you suspect the number may be suspicious, you can call a long distance operator to confirm the legitimacy of the area code.
- Inspect your telephone bill thoroughly. Ensure that you only receive charges from your provider of choice and that you understand all charges on your bill. If you’ve recently changed service providers, you will receive a final bill and a notice of service disconnection.
If you believe that you have been scammed:
- Call the carrier whom the charge originated. Their name and toll-free phone number should be printed on the same bill page as the charge in question. Usually, the issue can be resolved with a single call.
- If the carrier with whom the charge originated does not agree to resolve the problem, contact the United States government at https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-