Most, if not all, of us have caller ID and we tend to screen calls choosing those calls we’ll pick up and those we won’t. When we see an 800 number on the screen it tells us tells us it’s either a business call or a telemarketing company. But, it could also be a scammer calling and make no mistake there are some very sophisticated scamming companies out there.
We hear more, these days, about online scammers or email scams originating from all over the world with the intent of defrauding people of their identity and/or money. We forget that scammers started out doing this by telephones and they still are. Don’t think that just because you’re using a cell phone you’re safe. Getting people’s cell phones isn’t that difficult these days.
Scammers use 800 numbers; after all they are a business, just not a legal one. Are you familiar
Here’s a test for you: which of these numbers, off the top of your head, isn't a toll-free number? 800, 888, 877, 876, 866, and 855? Keep in mind there are only 5 toll-free number prefixes in current use in the US and the FCC has reserved the prefixes 844, 843, and 822 for future toll-free use. Were you able to pick the bogus one out?
The prefix 876 is not a toll-free prefix. It’s the area code of Jamaica and it’s often mistaken for a toll-free number. Surprised?
If you’ll notice the pattern established by the FCC for current toll free prefixes, bogus numbers tend to stand out.
The Jamaicans have quite a scamming business going on with the use of their area code and one of their most popular targets are seniors. Even if you aren't a senior, your parents,
The obvious scams involve alleged lottery winnings. It’s something we get online but also via
phone scams. In fact this
“lottery/sweepstakes” scam is on the Better Business Bureau top ten scams of
last year. There is quite a list of different frauds/scams and you can check some out at http://www.stopfraud.gov/report.html, and another good place is http://www.scamcallfighters.com/ and this one also addresses emails etc. Be aware there is also a new medicare scam going around http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/.
To compound the problem the scammers try to convince the victims not to tell their family but instead make it a surprise. Oh, it’s a surprise all right. If the scammers feel like they have a potential mark or victim the phone calls will increase in frequency—sometimes hundreds of calls.
Here are some tips from BEWARE: SCAMS FROM AREA CODE 876 http://www.bewareof876.com/
§ If you get a call saying you’re a winner – don’t pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate operations won’t require you to pay to collect your winnings.
§ It’s against federal law to play a foreign lottery – so if you get a call [or an email] it is likely a scam.
§ Never wire money to anyone with whom you are not familiar.
§ Never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers.
§ Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls.
§ Be aware that there are many 3-digit area codes that connect callers to international telephone numbers – especially 876.
§ If you do not have Caller ID, consider adding it to your phone service. Caller ID allows you to add a Call Intercept feature that screens calls and offers the option to reject suspicious international calls.
§ If you do not make international calls, ask your telephone provider to block outgoing international calls.
§ Contact your phone service provider, local authorities, or the Federal Trade Commission to report a potential scam.
Bottom line is; if it sounds too good to be true it generally is...it's untrue, a lie, fool's gold.
Like my brother puts it, don’t be a stupid schmuck and get…well you get the picture. J