Pulaski resident Peggy White would like to warn fellow citizens to be cautious of scam telephone calls that apparently are circulating in the area.
White (not Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce director Peggy White) said she has received several calls of late from men claiming she won a large amount of money in a drawing, but she needs to send $700 to cover taxes and other expenses to claim the prize.
“I knew right away it was a scam,” White said, adding that she hadn’t registered for any drawing. She said she tried to get an address from the callers by pretending she was going to write a check and send it to them right away, but “apparently I wasn’t too convincing because they wouldn’t give me one.”
She said one caller did give her a telephone number with an 876 area code, but she was afraid to try to call it for fear it, too, would be a scam.
Her suspicions were probably well-founded as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns that calls to area codes such as 876 (Jamaica), 809 (Dominican Republic), 649 (the Turks and Caicos) and 284 (British Virgin Islands) are often used by scammers to fool victims into making expensive international calls.
Another recent caller told White he was from Dominican Republic and claimed she had called there to register for a prize. She said she knew that wasn’t true because she has never called that country in her whole life.
According to the FCC, scam calls from the listed area codes are partly successful at scamming American consumers because the three-digit area codes appear to be domestic calls, but are actually international “pay-per-call phone numbers.”
Unfortunately, wireless customers also can become unwitting victims of these area codes by scammers who hang up after the phone rings only a couple of times. The telephone number is then logged as a missed call that the phone owner may call back and be charged large pay-per-call fees.
Until the scam victim receives a bill, they often are unaware a scam has occurred.
The FCC advises citizens to always check the area code before returning unfamiliar calls. Those who do not make international calls can protect themselves by asking their service provider to block outgoing international calls on their service.
If you are billed for a call you made as a result of one of these scams, the FCC advises you to first try to resolve the matter with the service provider. If that is not successful, a complaint can be filed with the FCC by visiting the Web site www.esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm; e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org; calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 445 12th St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.