This scam has been around for a while.
Recently, we have received reports of it happening to senior citizens on the central coast.
Here is how the scam works:
People reported receiving a voicemail urging them to return a call to an 809 area code phone number. The unsuspecting victims return the call only to hear a pre-recorded message. In the phone bill the next month, they were charge an excessive amount (some times more that $1,000 per minute) for the call to the Dominican Republic.
What can you do:
Some callers may be able to get the charge resolved, but it often takes several months. The following tips are from an article from the AT&T website
AT&T recommends the following tips to help avoid the 809 area code scam:
- Return calls to familiar numbers only. As a general rule, return calls from numbers that contain familiar or recognizable area codes. You may call your directory assistance or long distance operator to check the area code location.
- Carefully read your telephone bill. Make sure that you only receive charges from your provider of choice. Ensure you thoroughly understand charges listed on your phone bill, have chosen to do business with all of the listed providers billing for those charges and have authorized additional fees invoiced. If your local service provider has changed, you will receive a final bill from the former provider and a notice of service disconnection.
If you believe that you have been scammed:
- Contact the carrier with whom the charge originated, whose name and toll-free telephone number should be printed on the same bill page as the charge in question. Often, the problem can be resolved with a single phone call.
- If the carrier with whom the charge originated does not agree to resolve the problem, contact AT&T. AT&T will work with you and the carrier to help remove fraudulent charges from the phone bill.
Senior Connection can help with information and referrals to help prevent and resolve scams. Contact us today.