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.
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 on 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.
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