Criminals love telephone scams. According to consumer information provided by AT&T, a new scam hitting U.S. consumers may generate hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unwanted phone charges. The basic hook is a phone call saying that the person calling has vitally important information for you, and you must return the call by dialing their number right away. The number will begin with 809, or one of the other international area codes such as 284 and 876 which belong to the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to some sources, the calls can cost as much as $2425 a minute!
The scammers make up any of a number of stories to get you to call, including information about a family member or other close friend who has been arrested, has died, or is in need of dire help. Other stories are the classic “you have won a prize.” 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 the se calls.
The bottom line here is that there are a number of ways to get scammed over the telephone. And with the ability to fake or “spoof” a caller-ID number, you cannot verify the caller using caller-ID alone.
Security Tip: Never respond to any request for a return call without first verifying the identity of the caller and the purpose of the call. Be cautious about area codes you don't recognize. Check your telephone directory or call the operator to determine where the area code is before making your call. If the call-back number is area code 809, 284, 876 or any international number (starting with 011) and the message is “urgent” you know you are getting scammed.
Related Tips: "International Call Forwarding Scam" and "Beware of Fake Phone Numbers"