Phone scam warning issued
Charlotte County Sheriff’s detectives warn residents of a telephone scam from three Caribbean area codes, and exchanges in Canada, that can result in substantial long distance charges if you return the call.
Detectives said consumers are being tricked into calling back to area code 809 to the Dominican Republic, 284 to the British Virgin Islands and 876 to Jamaica, and calls back to Canada. The phone numbers appear to be in the United States, but are not. Since these area codes are out of country, the U.S. requirements to inform callers in advance of any special rates or fees, does not apply.
Scammers typically trick victims into dialing their area code and number by leaving a message that claims a relative has been injured, arrested, have an unpaid account, or a cash prize to be claimed. When the victim returns the call, they are kept on the line for as long as possible to run up additional charges which the scammer profits from. AT&T advises consumers to always check the location of unfamiliar area codes before dialing, or visit www.consumer.att.com to check the number.
Detectives said the area code exchanges mentioned are legitimate, but you should only return calls to family and friends at numbers you are familiar with that live outside the country. If you believe you have been scammed, contact the carrier that charged the amount to your phone bill. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, contact AT&T to work with you and the carrier to help remove fraudulent charges from your phone bill. Or, you can file a complaint online with the Federal Communications Commission about this or related phone scams.
Source: Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office