0809 Area Code Scam - Internet/Facebook Rumour

11 Feb 2014 - Article No: 1816. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour



809 Area Code

We actually received a call last week from the809 area code. The woman said "Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you- get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you." Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 809. We did not respond. Then this week, we received the following e-mail:

Do Not DIAL AREA CODE 809, 284, AND 876 from the UK

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PROVIDED TO US BY AT&T. DONT EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809

This one is being distributed all over the UK ... This is pretty scary, especially given the way they try to get you to call. Be sure you read this and pass it on. They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc..
In each case, you are 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 UK you will apparently be charged a minimum of £1500-per-minute and youll 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.


An image that appears to be a letter sent from the Greater Manchester Police in the UK is circulating that claims scammers are trying to lure victims into calling a 0809 number which can costs up to £1500 per minute.

However the message contains a message that has been circulating in various countries for decades now, with some earlier variants of this message dating as far back as the late 1990s. This is merely an identical variant to previous versions with minor edits to make it "relevant" to UK readers.

Whilst International scams that involve trying to lure victims into calling premium rate number do exist, they are rare, and the story in the message is severely inaccurate and outdated.

The message often claims to have come from American telecommunications giant AT&T, however they have refuted the message and claims it contains erroneous information, also claiming inquiries about the social media rumours far outweigh the number of people reporting similar scams


The 809 area code scam first surfaced five years ago and continues to victimize consumers on occasion, although much less frequently than in the past. And there have been far more inquiries about it than consumers actually being victimized.


The image above that appears to have come from the Great Manchester Police is either fake or someone working there mistakenly identified the information as accurate and thus printed out a copy in GMP headed paper.

Inaccurate information on the message includes the assertion that victims could be charged £1500 per minute, which is simply false and has never been true. Premium or international charges go nowhere near that high, rendering it impossible to be billed that amount.

What’s more, the message is even less relevant to UK readers who would need to dial a prefix code to get an 0809 number (which is the area code for the Dominican Republic) to work.

If you would like to warn your friends about international call scams, it is best to direct them to a web article from a reputable source instead of circulating an ancient and outdated rumour that was never accurate in the first place.

Additionally fellow hoax-busting site Hoax-Slayer has a much more accurate warning regarding how this type of scam works which you can read here.

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