Dangerous area codes that you should not pick up

Among a sea of shared social media posts warning people of various scams, some of which are fake, one turned out to be very real.

Call from Jamaica? Beware

"Greetings from Jamaica" are great when a friend sends you a post card, but not so much when a scammer is calling you from the Caribbean island nation.

A viral Facebook post going around now tells you to never answer your phone if the call comes from certain area codes. There is a lot of truth to this warning.

The website Consumerist says some innocent looking area codes belong to foreign countries.

They don't look like international calls on your caller ID, because they have the same country prefix as the United States (+1).  But they are international calls, which presents two issues for people answering the calls.

Area codes to be suspicious of include ...

  • 345: The Cayman Islands    
  • 242: The Bahamas
  • 473: Grenada
  • 441: Bermuda
  • 876: Jamaica
  • 784: Grenadines
  • 284: British Virgin Islands

Two ways these calls can cost you

Here's where you can get in trouble.  If you call the number back, thinking you missed an important call, you can be charged $3 or more per minute for the call.

But even more dangerous: the person calling you may be involved in one of those scams where they pretend to be from the IRS, the Jury Commission, or your grandchild (in each case they are not really the people they claim to be).

In each case, their goal is to get money out of you, convincing you to wire money to them, or purchase gift cards and read them the number.

Not all calls from Jamaica are scams. Maybe your Aunt Betty just arrived there and wants to tell you how beautiful it is.

But the bottom line is that con artists love these countries because US laws don't apply there, and it appears to be a call originating from within the United States.

So be careful, so you don't waste your money.

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