Don’t get tricked into making a very expensive international phone call to an 809 area code because these calls can cost up to $25 per minute!
This is an ingenious but cruel phone scam. It aims to frighten you so badly you make a call to an 809 area code right away without thinking. If you fall for it, your phone bill can be enormous!
How 809 Area Code Scams Work
You discover a message on your pager or answering machine, urgently requesting you call a number with an 809 area code. The message can vary, but it often involves important news regarding a family members. Either they’re sick, dead, or in jail. Sometimes the message says you’ve won some sort of prize or sweepstakes. The one I’ve received several times asks me to call as I am the lucky recipient of an award that will be presented to me at the White House by the President of the United States, etc.
There is one thing the message makes quite clear: you must call the 809 phone number as soon as you can. And many people return the call without a second thought. And why not? Many people have free long distance and there are far too many area codes to keep track of. The 809 area code could be anywhere. So many people make the call and in doing so have fallen victim to the 809 area code scam.
People returning these calls report hearing incredibly long pre-recorded messages or someone doing whatever they can to keep them on the line. When you find out why all will become clear.
What the scam costs you
Phone calls originating in the USA made to the 809 area code are charged as much as $25.00 per-minute. That’s the reason they try to keep you on the line. The longer the call, the more profit for them.
Where is the 809 area code?
809 area code calls go to the Dominican Republic, which is in the Caribbean. 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, whereas many U.S. homes that have 900 number blocking to avoid these kinds of charges, it does not work in preventing calls to the 809 area code or any other.
Don’t respond to Emails, phone calls, or web pages which tell you to call an "809" Phone Number. That is the simplest strategy to guard against this fraud.
This scam is not limited to the 809 area either as there are more and more area codes being added in the Caribbean area all the time.