Code 809 is a part of North American Numbering Plan and is assigned to Dominican
Republic - in the Caribbean.
809 area code can be used as a "pay-per-call" number, similar to 900
numbers in Canada and the US. Since 809 is not in Canada or the US, it is not
covered by the 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
Canadian and US phones systems have 900 number blocking to avoid these kinds of
charges, 900 number blocking will not prevent calls to the 809 area code.
are lots of different permutations of this scam, but the "809" scam
works basically like this...
retrieve a voice mail or a message on your answering machine. You listen to the
message, which has several wrinkles, but the best one is the caller asks you to
call a number beginning with area code 809 to receive information about a family
member who has been ill. (They may also tell you someone has been arrested, died,
you have won a wonderful prize, etc.)
any event, concerned or curious, you make the call. Sometimes the phone will be
answered by a person who claims to speak broken English. (The idea is to keep
you on the line to build up charges.) Or, sometimes you will just get a long recorded
message. The bottom line is, when your phone bill comes, you see this incredible
charge, oftentimes more than $100.00 dollars (even over $2,000 per minute)!
are using the 809 numbers as "pay-per-calls" and to get around the Regulations
and 900 number blocking. Every time you call the number, they get a greatly inflated
rebate from the foreign phone company. Since the 809 numbers are in the Caribbean,
they aren't bound by 900# regulations that require them to warn you of the charge
and rate involved, and also to provide a time period during which you may terminate
the call without being charged.
newest twist to this scam is to page people using the 809 numbers. With the new
area code changes, people unknowingly are returning these calls. When the bill
comes, there are HUGE charges for the calls.
suggestion is 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, DON'T RETURN THE CALL!
It's bad enough that the criminal is invading your privacy, don't let them invade
your wallet as well!
of this type are extremely hard to prosecute and since you did actually make the
call, neither your local phone company or your long distance carrier will want
to get involved. They'll tell you that they are simply providing the billing for
the foreign company. You end up trying to deal (over the phone) with a foreign
company that feels they have done no wrong. It can turn into a real nightmare!
is 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 wary of e-mail 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.
with permission of the National Fraud Information