According to a reports surfacing on the Internet, a telephone scam is moving quickly throughout North America and beyond whereby a person receives a message on an answering machine or pager asking that he call a number beginning with the area code 809. The message indicates either a prize has been won, a relative has taken seriously ill or even died, or some other message guaranteed to get the attention of the recipient.
The phone number to call, according to the message, begins with area code 809. If you return the call from a United States telephone, you may be charged an exhorbitant telephone charge. Victims have complained that the charge can range from $25 to over $2,000 per minute. The calls often begin with a lengthy recorded message, engaging enough to keep the listener on the line for as long as possible.
The 809 area code, located in the British Virgin Islands, in the Bahamas, is not in a jurisdiction covered by U.S. regulations on pay-per-call numbers where the caller is required to inform the recipient of the charges associated with the call.
Internet users are also being bombarded with messages relating to this scam, such messages including a subject line of "Alert!" or "Unpaid Account" and including warnings that legal action will be taken if a phone number (beginning with an 809 area code) isn't called immediately.
The scam surfaced earlier this year, and is apparently making a comeback.