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Newsletter. Issue 2003-18. September. 06, 2003
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Don't Return Calls to 809 Area Code
From: Sal Rocha
We actually received a call last week from the 809 area code. The woman said "Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you--get back to us quickly. Have something important to tell you." Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 809. We didn't respond.

Then this week, we received the following email:
Subject: DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809, 284 AND 876


This one is being distributed all over the US. This is pretty scary, especially given the way they try to get you to call. Be sure you read this and pass it on to all your friends and family so they don't get scammed! 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 lots of different permutations of this scam.


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
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, where as 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 email, 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.

Sandi Van Handel
AT&T Field Service Manager


Fernandes, Lourdinha Peacefully at St. Michael s Hospital, Toronto on Monday, August 25, 2003. She lived a full life spanning eight decades and four continents. Born in Goa, then a Portuguese colony in India, she emigrated to Kenya after marrying Lazarus in 1941. In the late 1960 s they moved to the U.K., before settling in Canada 34 years ago. Predeceased by Lazarus (1975), she leaves behind her grieving family: brother, Vincent DaCosta (Goa); daughters, Joana (son-in-law Jaime Lobo), Astrid, Mitelia (son-in-law Victor Paul), Yasmin and doctor son, Lactancio (daughter-in-law Helen Gallace); grandchildren Ivan, Sharon, Alan, Brian and (grand-daughter-in-law Nicole), Rowan, Raina, Faye, Paul, Victoria, Diane and Joseph; and many nephews, nieces, and friends. Her independence, courage, love and advice will be sorely missed by all who knew her. . Funeral took place on Thursday, August 28, 2003, St. Bonaventure Church, North York followed by Interment to follow at Pine Hills Cemetery Scarborough.

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