MCC Daily Tribune Archive

ETS Scam Alert

Beware of calls from “809”, “649”, “284” Area Codes

Wireless consumers are now receiving calls from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that appear to be domestic, but are actually associated with international pay-per-call phone numbers.

The scam works something like this:

Your wireless phone rings once or twice and then disconnects the call. When the number appears in your wireless phone log as a missed call, you call it back.

When you return the call, you assume you are making a domestic long distance call – as “649,” “809,” “284,” “876” and other area codes involved in this scam, however, you are connected to a phone number outside the United States, often in Canada or the Caribbean, and are charged expensive international call rates, and may be charged for pay-per-call services as well. (In this case, “649” goes to the Turks and Caicos, “809” goes to the Dominican Republic, “284” goes to the British Virgin Islands, and “876” goes to Jamaica.)

You don’t find out about the higher international call rates until you receive your phone bill.

What you can do to minimize the risk of this happening to you:
  • Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls.
  • If you do not otherwise make international calls, ask your local or wireless phone company to block outgoing international calls on your line.

    Donna Pogroszewski
    ETS Cyber Security Awareness Program