The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has become
aware of a long distance phone scam that may lead consumers to inadvertently
incur high charges on their phone bills.
The Scam Works Something Like This
You get an e-mail, voicemail, or page telling you to
call a phone number with an “809”, “284”, “876” (or some other three-digit)
area code to collect a prize, find out about a sick relative, engage in sex
You assume you are making a domestic long distance call
– as “809”, “284”, “876” (and other three-digit area codes involved in this
scam) appear to be typical three-digit U.S. area codes.
When you dial the “809”, “284”, “876” (or other
three-digit) area code plus the number, however, you’re actually connected
to a phone number outside the United States, often in Canada or the
Caribbean, and charged international call rates. (In this case, “809” goes
to the Dominican Republic, “284” goes to the British Virgin Islands, and
“876” goes to Jamaica.)
You don’t find out about the higher international call
rates until you receive your phone bill.
To Minimize the Risk of This Happening to You
Check any area codes before returning calls.
If you do not otherwise make international calls, ask
your local phone company to block outgoing international calls on your line.
Filing a Complaint with the FCC
There is no charge to file an informal complaint with the
FCC. Your letter should include your name, address, telephone number or
numbers involved with your complaint, a telephone number where you can be
reached during the business day, and the name of your long distance carrier.
Your complaint letter should also provide as much specific information as
possible, such as:
an explanation of the circumstances that led to your
the names of all telephone or other companies involved
with your complaint;
the names and telephone numbers of the telephone
company employees that you talked to in an effort to resolve your complaint;
the dates that you talked with these employees; and
any other information that would help the FCC to
process your complaint.
Your local telephone company also often has records that
are essential to the processing of your complaint.
You should mail your complaint to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554.
To file a complaint electronically, go to
Consumers can also file by e-mail at email@example.com.
Filing a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
The FTC is revising its regulations to give consumers
more rights when they are victims of international phone call scams. Among
other things, the rules will require that calling costs be disclosed to the
consumer before his/her call is connected.
Callers may submit their complaints, in writing, to the
FTC. The FTC does not typically investigate or resolve specific complaints,
but looks for trends or patterns when an issue appears to warrant action. FTC
complaints should be mailed to:
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580.
You may also contact the FTC via phone or email:
FTC toll-free number: 1-877-382-4357
FTC e-mail address for reporting fraud: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Communications Commission · Consumer
& Governmental Affairs Bureau · 445 12th St. S.W. ·
Washington, DC 20554
1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) ·
TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) · Fax: 1-866-418-0232 · www.fcc.gov/cgb/