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Hoaxes and Urban Legends: $50 call-back spam

Whenever you receive an email that urges you to immediately forward that mail to everyone you know, there is a very good chance the email is a hoax. Please take the time to verify the message by doing a Google search before you send it on to anyone else. In most cases when you take an arbitrary sentence from the message and google for it you'll end up with many hoax warning pages as the result.

The following email contains an ounce of truth, but gets the facts wrong. If you're in Australia and get a phone call from one of the numbers listed below and then call back, you'll get a voice message to call a number to claim $40 worth in ring tones. That other number is charged at around $3/minute, not $50 per call as claimed.

Please review:

Known email hoaxes:
The AOL/Microsoft money giveaway hoax
The "809" area code hoax
The burned baby hoax
Amy Bruce / Make A Wish hoax
The "Invitation" virus hoax
The "Life is beautiful" virus hoax
The Oliver North / Osama bin Ladin / Al Gore hoax
Send spam to the South African police to save children
Exxon/Mobile gas boycott
Bush IQ report / Lovenstein Institute hoax
Monkeyman935 warning hoax
Kidney Theft urban legend
Ashley Flores, 13 (missing child hoax)
How to detect a two-way mirror
$50 call-back spam
Cooking an egg with cell phones
"Osama captured" / "Osama hanged" virus
A tale of Japanese Lizards and Love
The $5 killer
Audi A8 made out of silver
ATM PIN code entered in reverse will call the police
Mars spectacularly close to Earth on August 27
"An old lady walked into a Grocery Store..."
"Allah or the Lord Jesus Christ?"
"PDA+GSM Palm Treo 650 dan Treo 680 dan Treo 750"
Bayer drug contains HIV
Forward or lose your Hotmail account
Chinese "fix" jet engine with seatbelts
AOL will donate five cents for baby's brain cancer operation
Ericsson distributing free laptops
Art Bell Filipino hate letter
Hypodermic needles on gas pump handles
"Through a rapist's eyes" / Crying Baby theory
Sheryl Crow / John Hopkins Cancer update about plastic bottles
Children buried alive in Egypt, saved by Jesus
Missing child - Regina George Muñoz
Papaya Juice - (NOT!) A Cure for Dengue
Hiroshima 64 years later (is actually Yokohama)
Lou Dobbs video on Immigration/Amnesty bill (dead since 2007)


Example chain letter:

if you get a missed call from one of the following numbers, don't call
it back.
if you do, you will be charged $50 as it is an internet number...it says
you have won $40 and to call another number....then you will get slapped
with another $50 amount.

It's been doing the rounds in canberra..i received the prank this
morning!

The list of phone numbers you may be pranked from:
* (02) 8219 0500
* (02) 8303 8320
* (02) 8303 8321
* (02) 8404 2201
* (02) 8404 2203 <- Updated 22nd May 2006
* (02) 8404 2213
* (02) 8404 2215
* (02) 8404 2235
* (02) 8404 2236
* (02) 8404 2245 <- Updated 23rd May 2006
* (02) 8404 2296 <- Updated 22nd May 2006
* (02) 8404 2298
* (03) 8102 9565
* (03) 8558 0556
* (03) 8558 1441
* (03) 8558 1442
* (03) 8558 1443
* (03) 8558 1444
* (03) 8558 1445
* (03) 8558 1446
* (03) 8558 1447
* (03) 9540 2950
* (03) 9540 5100 <- 24th May 2006
* (03) 9540 5101
* (03) 9540 5187
* (03) 9540 5189
* (03) 9855 2913

809 #s IMPORTANT>>>>PLEASE READ

We actually received a call last week from the 809 area code.
The woman said "Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you--get back to us quickly.
Have something important to tell you." Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 809. "We didn't respond".

Then this week, we received the following e-mail:

Subject: DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 809, 284 AND 876

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PROVIDED TO US BY AT&T.
DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE
809

This one is being distributed all over the US. This is pretty scary,
especially given the way they try to get you to call.
Be sure you read this and pass it on to all your friends and family so they don't get scammed!
MAJOR SCAM:
Don't respond to Emails, phone calls, or web pages which tell you to call an "809" area Phone Number.

This is a very important issue of Scam Busters because it alerts you to a scam that is spreading *extremely* quickly, can easily
cost you $2400 or more, and is difficult to avoid unless you are aware of it.

We'd like to thank Verizon for bringing this scam to our attention.
This scam has also been identified by the National Fraud Information Center and is costing victims a lots of money.

There are lots of different permutations of this scam.

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:

You will receive a message on your answering machine or your pager, which asks you to call a number beginning with area code 809. The reason you're asked to call varies. It can be to receive information about a family member who has been ill, to tell you someone has-been arrested, died, to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc In each case, you are told to call the
809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls.

If you call from the US, you will apparently be charged $2425 per-minute.
Or, you'll get a long recorded message. The point is, they will try to keep you on the
phone as long as possible to increase the charges. Unfortunately, when you get your phone bill, you'll often be charged more than $24,100.00.

WHY IT WORKS:
The 809 area code is located in the British Virgin Islands (The Bahamas).
The 809 area code can be used as a "pay-per-call" number, simila r to 900 numbers in the US. Since! 809 is not in the US, it is not covered by U.S. regulations of 900 numbers, which require that you be notified and warned of charges and rates involved when you call a pay-per-call" number.

There is also no
requirement that the company provide a time period during which you may terminate the call without being charged. Further, whereas many U.S. homes that have 900 number blocking to avoid these kinds of charges, do not work in preventing calls to the 809 area code.

We recommend that no matter how you get the message, if you are asked to call a number with an 809 area code that you don't recognize, just disregard the message.

Be wary of e-mail, or calls, asking you to call an 809 area code number. It's important to prevent becoming a victim of this scam, since trying to fight the charges afterwards can become a
real nightmare. That's because you did actually make the call. If you complain, both your local phone company and your long distance carrier will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You'll end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong.

Please forward this entire message to your friends, family and colleagues to help them become aware of this scam

Sandi Van Handel
AT&T Field Service Manager
(920)687-904

The scam warning was not issued by AT&T and neither the person nor the phone number is real.

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