809 Scam

Classification Status
Hoax   True
Urban Legend

Chain Mail





Related to  
"Dim bulb" Rating (Click here for details)  

This is a real scam, don't fall for it.

For a more official report, see here: AT&T Fraud Information Page

To Emails, Phone Calls, Or Pages Which Tell You To Call An "809" Phone

This is a very important issue of Internet ScamBusters! because it alerts
you to a scam that is: - spreading "extremely" quickly - can easily cost you
$100 or more, and - is difficult to avoid unless you are aware of it. We'd
like to thank Paul Bruemmer and Brian Stains for bringing this scam to our

This scam has also been identified by the National Fraud Information Center
and is costing victims a lot of money. There are lots of different
permutations of this scam, but here is how it works:

Permutation #1: Internet Based Phone Scam Via Email You receive an email,
typically with a subject line of "*ALERT*" or Unpaid account." The message,
which is being spammed across the net, says: I am writing to give you a
final 24hrs to settle your outstanding account. If I have not received the
settlement in full, I will commence legal proceedings without further delay.
If you would like to discuss this matter to avoid court action, call Mike
Murray at Global Communications at 1-809-496-2700.

Permutation #2: Phone Or Pager Scam You receive a message on your answering
machine or your pager which asks you to call a number beginning with area
code 809. The reason to 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're 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 $25
per-minute! Sometimes the person who answers the phone will speak broken
English and pretend not to understand you. Other times, you'll just 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 $100.00.

Here's why it works: 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 US 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, whereas many US phones have 900 number blocking To avoid these
kinds of charges), 900 number blocking will not prevent 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, investigate
further and/or disregard the message. Be "very" 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 our 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 issue of Internet ScamBusters! to your friends,
family and colleagues to help them become aware of this scam so they don't
get ripped off. "


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