Subject: Fw: 809 Area Code Alert
verified by AT&T Fraud Control.
FRAUD AREA CODE - 809
Beware of e-mails, phone calls or electronic pages which tell you to call an
“809” area code phone number. This is a scam that is spreading extremely
quickly, can easily cost you $100.00 or more and is difficult to avoid
unless you are aware of it. This scam has been identified by the National
Fraud Information Center, which said it is costing victims lots of money.
There are lots of different versions of this scam, but here is how it works:
Version#1: Internet-Based Phone Scam Via E-mail. You receive an e-mail,
typically with a subject line of “ALERT” or “Unpaid Account.” The message
says something to the effect “I am writing to give you a final 24 hrs 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, Global
Communications at (809) 496-2700.”
Version #2: Phone or Pager Scam. You receive a message on your answering
machine, voice mail, or your pager which asks you to call a number beginning
with area code “809.” The reason you’re asked to call can vary: It can be to
receive information about a family member who has been ill, to tell you
someone has been arrested, has died, or to let you know you have won a
wonderful prize, etc.
The common denominator for both of these versions is the victim is
instructed/asked 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 United States, you will apparently be charged $25.00
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!
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 U.S. Since “809” is not in the United States, 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
There is also no requirement that the company provide a time period during
which you may terminate the call without being charged. Further, where many
U.S. phones have “900” number blocking (to avoid these kinds of charges),
“900” number blocking will not prevent calls to the “809” area code. It is
recommended 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 e-mail or calls asking you to call an “809” area code