Thursday, July 12, 2007

Legal Phone Scam

How to lose your shirt the quick easy way with this common legal scam. Start calling 809, 876, and 284 phone numbers. Here's how they work:

A mom / homemaker, a New Jersey native, received an "urgent" phone message: call back immediately, your father had an accident. Upon doing so--putting through her call to a given 809 phone number--she was told to hold while the party tried to locate the proper duty nurse (at the supposed hospital). She did. For ten minutes. In later checking through other sources she found that her father was not endangered, had not had an accident, and was indeed well and happy. She promptly forgot the phone call, dismissing it as a matter of mistaken identity. Forgot about it, that is, until jogged back to reality by a $12,400 charge on her next phone bill. "I was in a panic. I didn't pay any attention to phone numbers," the confused woman said.

That's how they work. From the shelter of the Caribbean, Dominican Republic, 876, Jamaica, 284, British Virgin Islands phone numbers--these charlatans remain adrift from FTC phone number regulations which protect Americans on 900 phone number calls. Sudden accidents and illnesses are not the only lure to call. Other ruses are: a threat of legal action, to claim a prize, to claim an inheritance from a long-lost relative. Many more. Once you call back, aim is to stall as long as possible, to pile up chargeable minutes, which can range from as high as $2,400 per such unit of time.

Other Caribbean havens to watch out for, to avoid making a punching bag of your wallet, are: 246, Barbados, 242, Bahamas, 268, Antiqua, 345, Cayman Islands. 664, Montserrat, 758 St. Lucia, 787, Puerto Rico, 869 St. Kitts / Nevis, and 441, Bermuda.

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