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0809 Area Code. We actually received a call last week from the 0809 area code. The woman said 'Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you- get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you.' Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 0809. We did not respond, this week, we received the following e-mail:
Do Not DIAL AREA CODE 0809, 0284, AND 0876 from the UK
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION PROVIDED TO US BY AT&T. DON'T EVER DIAL AREA CODE 0809
This one is being distributed all over the UK ... This is pretty scary, especially given the way they try to get you to call.Be sure you read this and pass it on.
They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc..
In each case, you are told to call the 0809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls.
If you call from the UK , you will apparently be charged c per-minute and 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.
However, at least for the UK, the claims in the message are nonsense. Calling numbers with the specified area codes from the UK will certainly not connect users to an overseas premium phone service charged at £1500 per minute. Moreover, a prefix would need to be added to the area codes to reach an international destination. Without the prefix, the area codes may reach local UK numbers but would be charged at normal rates. Premium rate numbers in the UK begin with 09 and incur costs 'between 9p and £1.69 per minute from a BT landline (other landlines up to £2.60 per minute) or between 50p and £2.50 per minute from mobiles'. Premium rate call costs in the UK would never reach the massive per minute charges specified in the supposed warning.
In fact, the message is nothing more than an utterly pointless reworking of a much earlier warning message about a US based phone scam. And, although the US version referenced a real premium rate phone scam, it contained highly misleading and inaccurate information. The US version made the ridiculous - and totally untrue - claim that callers were being charged $2425 per minute for calling back 809 area code numbers. While victims might have racked up call costs of up to $100, they were certainly never charged the exorbitant per minute fees stated in the warning message. I discuss the US version in some detail in another Hoax-Slayer article.
Thus, it seems that someone has simply taken the old US 'warning' and made a rather lame attempt to adapt it for the UK by altering a few details.
Unfortunately, the bogus UK version of the scam warning has been given totally undeserved credibility because it appears to come from the Greater Manchester Police. However, the message is not from police as claimed. Greater Manchester Police have now issued the following statement on their Facebook Page:
We have been made aware of an email circulating using our logo. Please note this has not come from us - it is a fake and the information is incorrect.
Finally, let me reiterate that premium rate phone scams do occur, although victims will never be charged the sort of fees described in these false warnings. One such scam is currently tricking US residents into returning 'one-ring' missed calls which connect to a premium rate service that can be charged at up to $9 per minute. Thus, users should be wary of calling back unknown numbers. It may be wise to check the origin of such numbers via an online phone directory before dialling.
Nevertheless, sharing the false information in the above message will help nobody. If the message comes your way, please do not share it with others. And please let the sender know the message is a hoax.
Last updated: February 13, 2014