Verizon has made us aware of the “809” area code scam. You may receive on your pager, voicemail or email a message saying to call a phone number that begins with the area code 809. If you return this call your phone bill could be charged in excess of $2400 for only a few minutes. This area code is located in the British Virgin Islands where it is not required that you be notified about a charged call. Verizon has issued alerts on other Caribbean area codes that could also be scams. They are 242, 246, 264, 268, 284, 340, 441, 473, 649, 664, 758, 767, 784, 787, 868, 869 and 876. In short, if you do not recognize the number DO NOT RETURN THE CALL.
Another popular scam is the Nigerian Email Fraud. This is an email you may receive from someone in Nigeria or other South African country who claims to have millions of dollars. The sender says they are trying to move large sums of money by offering a substantial percentage of the cash in return for allowing them to deposit it into your bank account. The reasons have been money received for completed contracts, death inheritance and insurance payouts after airplane crashes. If you respond to the email you are asked for forward a good faith deposit to handle expenses. Several arrests have already been made in England and the United States Secret Service is investigating this scam. They have identified it as Project 419.
Customers are receiving faxed letters enticing them to fax the letter back for information on how to “Get Rich Quick”. The directions are to fax to 900 numbers and wait for details to be returned. The details are never returned and the customers average wait times of between 10 and 20 minutes. These fax calls are then billed back to the customer for $2.95 a minute.
Customers are receiving emails from firstname.lastname@example.org stating that $498.98 has been charged to their account. They are instructed to call customer service at 01-239-444-6257 and press “4” for customer service. This is not a real customer service number and no one will ever answer. The customer will remain on hold while international charges accrue on their phone bill.