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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 14:55:08 +0000
To: rgcave, Gentry <ysone>,
Cc: shereff, NICGIRL102, richard.hall,
Subject: (Fwd) 809 scam
Our divisional dean forwarded this, which is of enough
potential interest to distribute.
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. 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
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 on +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.