0809 Premium Rate scam warning - Internet/Facebook Rumour

29 Aug 2014 - Article No: 1876. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour

Messages are spreading across social media that warns UK users to an apparent con that involves the scammer informing the victim they need to call an 0809 number. Upon calling the number the victim is then billed 1500 per minute. Variants also exist for the US and other countries. Most warnings also claim 0284 and 0876 prefixes can also be used.

Example -

0809 Area Code. We actually received a call last week from the 0809 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 0809. We did not respond, this week, we received the following e-mail:

Do Not DIAL AREA CODE 0809, 0284, AND 0876 from the UK


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 0809 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 c 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.

Whilst premium rate scams are real and you should always be careful what numbers you dial and always check if they can be charged at a premium rate, in this instance the warning is too inaccurate to be of any use.

Firstly, the number of the prefixes given in the message (0809, 0284 or 0876) are not premium rate numbers and seem to simply have derived from the USA version where 809 is a premium rate prefix. However even in the USA these calls would not incur charges anywhere near those stated in the various rumours.

For a UK phone user to be charged a premium rate they would need to call a premium rate number (beginning with 09) or make an international call, where they would need to first dial the correct international prefix for a particular country. At most the numbers listed would be charged at the UK national rate.

Even if the email did manage to give the prefix for a premium rate number, the assertion that they could be charged up to 15000 is absurd. The most expensive premium call from a BT landline is 1.69 and whilst international calling can be somewhat more complex in its billing it would still come nowhere near 1500 a minute. This is equally true for the US version which states an equally erroneous amount of $2425.

This rumour is often attributed via a letter with the Greater Manchester Police logo (below), giving the hoax an air or legitimacy. However the GMP has stated that the information did not come from them.

Thus the warning is fake and should not be circulated.

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