The 809 area code scam causes consumers to inadvertently incur high charges on their phone bills. Consumers usually receive a message telling them to call a phone number with an 809, 284 or 876 area code in order to collect a prize, find out information about a sick relative, etc. The caller assumes the number is a typical 3-digit U.S. area code; however, the caller is actually connected to a phone number in Canada or the Caribbean and charged international call rates.
Unfortunately, consumers don't find out until they receive their bill.
Fortunately, this scam is less prevalent in recent years as a result of work done by Time Warner Cable and other telephone service providers to eliminate access to fraudulent pay-per-call operators. Time Warner Cable offers the following information and tips to avoid the 809 and other telephone scams:
Return calls to familiar numbers only
As a rule, return calls from numbers that contain familiar or recognizable area codes. Call Directory Assistance or use Google to check the area code location.
Carefully read your telephone bill
Ensure you thoroughly understand all charges listed on your phone bill, have chosen to do business with all of the listed providers and have authorized any additional fees invoiced. If your local service provider has changed, you will receive a final bill from the former provider and a notice of service disconnection.
If you believe you have been scammed
Contact the carrier with whom the charge originated, whose name and toll-free telephone number should be printed on the same bill page as the charge in question. Often, the problem can be resolved with a single phone call.
If the carrier with whom the charge originated does not agree to resolve the problem, Contact Us. Time Warner Cable will work with you and the carrier to help remove fraudulent charges from the phone bill. You should also file a complaint online with the Federal Communications Commission at fcc.gov about phone scams.