Seniors group warns of foreign telephone scam

Residents are being warned about a new telephone scam which could cost its victims hundreds of pounds.

Eastbourne Seniors Forum issued the warning after one of its members was alerted to the scam which is believed to originate from the Dominican Republic.

Some unsuspecting victims have received a call with the area code 809 with a woman leaving a message asking them to call back and repeating a telephone number beginning with 809.

Callers who have phoned back have been charged a minimum of $2,425 per minute which equates to hundreds of pounds.

Chairman of the ESF Steve Thornett said it was important people did not respond and not to dial area codes 809, 284 or 876 from the UK.

“If you receive a call from area code 809 hang up,” said Mr Thornett. “The woman is likely to say ‘Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you – get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you.’ Then she repeats a phone number beginning with 809. Do not respond.

“If you call from the UK you will apparently be charged a minimum of $2,425 per minute. And you’ll also 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.

“The 809 area code is located in the Dominican Republic. 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.”

ESF is for the over 50s who live or work in Eastbourne.