The latest phone scam?
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 96 14:29:21 -0700
Subject: The latest phone scam?
Forwarded-by: "Mary-Anne G. Wolf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Further forwards on hold]
Subject: The Latest Fraud - What will they think of next?
I recently received an article from a friend of mine, warning me about
the latest telephone fraud. Basically this information originated from
a gentleman name Walt Wiessner. Basically, a new scam has been identified
by the National Fraud Information Center that is costing victims BIG BUCKS!
The scam works basically like this:
You get home and notice that the message light is blinking on your
answering machine. You listen to the message, which has several
wrinkles, but the best one is the caller asks you to call a number beginning
with area code 809 to receive information about a family member who has been
ill. (They may also tell you someone has been arrested, died, you have won
a wonderful prize, etc.)
In any event, concerned or curious, you make the call. Sometimes the
phone will be answered by a person who claims to speak broken English.
(The idea is to keep you on the line to build up charges.) Or, sometimes
you will just get a long recorded message. The bottom lines is, when your
phone bill comes, you see this incredible charge, oftentimes more than
Crooks are using the 809 numbers as "pay-per-calls" and to get around
the US Regulations and 900 number blocking. Every time you call the number,
they get a greatly inflated rebate from the foreign phone company. Since
the 809 numbers are in the Caribbean, they aren't bound by US 900#
regulations that require them to warn you of the charge and rate involved,
and also to provide a time period during which you may terminate the call
without being charged.
The newest twist to this scam is to page people using the 809 numbers.
With the new area code changes, people unknowingly are returning these
calls. When the bill comes, there are HUGE charges for the calls.
My suggestion is 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,
DON'T RETURN THE CALL! It's bad enough that the criminal is invading your
privacy, don't let them invade you wallet as well!
Scams of this type are extremely hard to prosecute and since you did
actually make the call, neither your local phone company or your long
distance carrier will want to get involved. They'll tell you that they are
simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You end up trying to
deal (over the phone) with a foreign company that feels they have done no
wrong. It can turn into a real nightmare!
© 1996 Peter Langston