Periodically, e-mails warning of a scam involving calls from the 809 area code circulate. The e-mails contend that there has been fraud associated with unscrupulous pay-per-call operators in that area code. However, the message contains some misinformation, especially the highly exaggerated cost of a phone call to the 809 area code, which is a legitimate area code for the Dominican Republic. Fortunately, this scam is less prevalent in recent years as a result of work done by AT&T to eliminate access to fraudulent pay-per-call operators.
This long distance phone 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 three-digit U.S. area code; however, the caller is actually connected to a phone number outside the United States, often in Canada or the Caribbean, and charged international call rates. Unfortunately, consumers don't find out that they have been charged higher international call rates until they receive their bill.