Phone scam preying on citizens
By Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – Recently, there have been a rash of phone calls to residents of Louisiana as well as citizens across the country.
The calls usually sound urgent and ask that the person who gets the message call back as soon as possible, usually because of a problem with a relative or to inform the call recipient that they have won a prize. However, don’t be so quick to return these calls. Especially if they come from an 809, 876, or 284 area code. These area codes are from foreign countries which charge incredibly high fees for just a couple of minutes on the phone.
The tough part about warning the public about these scams is that since there are so many new area codes these days people will unknowingly return these calls.
Some people have fallen victim to the scam and upon getting their phone bill have been shocked when they see the total. For example, the 809 area code is located in the British Virgin Islands. If the number is called from the U.S. - and this isn’t a misprint - you apparently will be charged $2425 per minute.
What can be more frustrating is that if you complain about these charges to your local phone company or long distance provider they will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for a foreign company. In short, they aren’t much help at all.
For those looking for more information on the scam, AT&T has a website, http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=6045, which goes into more detail on the problem.
“Our citizens need to be aware of scams like these that prey on people who become vulnerable by just answering their phone,” said Crowley Chief of Police K.P. Gibson.