- Area code 809
Area code 809 is an
area codeserving the Dominican Republic, with 829 as an overlay.
The area codes 809 and 829 are today the local telephone area codes solely for the Dominican Republic. Following
Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesin 1999, no other countries still pass-through old numbers from the legacy 809 area code.
When in the Dominican Republic, the full area code + seven digit phone number must be dialed. When calling to the Dominican Republic from anywhere in the
United Statesor Canadadial, 1-809 or 1-829 + seven digit phone number.
telephone fraudscams once revolved around the 809 area code; it was being used since it has a higher than normal rate. The victim receives a message on their answering machine to call a number with an 809 area code. Since there were many new area codes being introduced in the US, the victim thinks nothing of it and dials the 809 number. The number dialed is set up as a premium rate with an exorbitant per-minute charge such as US$25.00. The victim is then put on hold indefinitely, and billed for each minute they are on hold. This is actually perfectly legal, because the telephone regulations in the Dominican Republic don't require premium rate numbers to be declared.
With a sometimes inadequate offering of phone services available in Haiti, some scammers would often resort to paying a Dominican Republic phone company to set up phone service on the Haitian side of the border, under an assumed Dominican Republic area code and telephone number. Haiti, with its loose regulations on phone charges, became a prime hotbed for setting up these scams in the 1980s, which often looked like it was the Dominican Republic. In order for this to work, it often required setting up phone service in a Haitian border town. Since the crime was actually being committed in Haiti, the Dominican Republic authorities would be powerless to apprehend the perpetrators without contacting Haitian authorities. [http://www.lincmad.com/telesleaze.html]
The 809 scam spam (email forward)
Around 1996, an email from Scambusters.org appeared, warning about the 809 and other Caribbean area codes scams, and this (legitimate) warning began to make the rounds of forwarded emails. As usual with such forwards, people have modified it from its original form to make it appear more urgent. Untruths and exaggerations in the resulting hoax email warning now include the following:
*The hoax email warns against ever dialing this area code, when in truth, most phone numbers in the 809 area code are not scams, and it's perfectly all right to call someone you know who lives in this area code. The original recommendation was not to return calls from people you don't know who claim that you have won something, or have some trouble with a credit card that needs to be cleared up "immediately", or who claim that a family member of yours has been taken ill, or who offer you a job, etc.
*The hoax email asks you to forward it to every friend and family member you know, thus making a
chain letter. Scambusters, the originator of the warning email, does not ask people to forward their emails.
*The hoax email warns of outrageous sums that might be charged, such as US$2,400 per minute, or sums totalling up to $10,000.00 (the original warning was for charges that were "reportedly as high as $25.00" per minute, and included a surmise that you might be taken for $100.00).
*The hoax email claims that the 809 area code is new, though it has been in operation for many years.
*The hoax email places the 809 area code in the "British Virgin Islands (the Bahamas)" which is an error copied from the original email.
Area codes in the Caribbean
North American Numbering Plan
* [http://www.nanpa.com North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA)]
* [http://www.vii.org/papers/cari.htm Telecommunications in The Caribbean]
* [http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/809.html Federal Communications Commission] regarding the 809 scam
* [http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=6045 AT&T webpage] regarding the 809 scam and subsequent spam. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
* [http://www.scambusters.org/809Scam.html scambusters.org] webpage regarding the spammed version of their 809 warning. Retrieved May 7, 2006.
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