Scam phone numbers are used every day to trick unsuspecting people into giving away their private information.
The good news is, you can identify certain area codes that could be tied back to a phone scam, so all it’ll take is a quick glance to know if the call is for real or not.
These days, phone scammers are getting smarter—and trickier. And if you’re not careful, they could make big bucks off of you, the unsuspecting caller. Aside from hanging up if you hear this four-word phrase, there’s something else you can do to avoid becoming a victim.
Certain area codes can warn potential targets that the call isn’t safe, according to Joseph Steinberg, CEO of SecureMySocial.
Although scam callers once used a 900 number, they’ve changed their methods as the general public has caught on. Now, many scam phone numbers have the area code 809, which originates in the Caribbean.
Still, to keep the public off their trail, scammers hide behind other numbers, as well. “Criminals have been known to use caller IDs with the area code 473, which appears to be domestic, but is actually the area code for the island of Grenada,” Steinberg says.
Watch out for these phone call scams that could steal your money, too.
By the way, those calls add up fast. You could be charged at least $5 per minute for taking a call from any of these foreign countries, according to AARP.
Plus, scammers can swindle you out of your money through phony timeshares, cruises, or fake stories about danger or money problems. iPhone scams and Uber scams are also on the rise, making Apple fans and Uber users alike more wary.
To play it extra safe, Steinberg recommends never answering or returning a call from a number you don’t recognize.
If you actually know the person, they can always leave a voicemail. “Remember that it’s unlikely that someone you do not know—who is in distress at a location with which you are not familiar—would dial a random number in another country and ask you to help them,” he says. “They would call the police.”
Although the area codes 473, 809, and 900 are the biggest culprits of scams, it can’t hurt to be wary of calls from numbers with the following international area codes.
Scam phone numbers: International Area Codes With a +1 Country Code
242 — Bahamas
246 — Barbados
268 — Antigua
284 — British Virgin Islands
345 — Cayman Islands
441 — Bermuda
473 — Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique
649 — Turks and Caicos
664 — Montserrat
721 — Sint Maarten
758 — St. Lucia
767 — Dominica
784 — St. Vincent and Grenadines
809, 829 and 849 — Dominican Republic
868 — Trinidad and Tobago
869 — St. Kitts and Nevis
876 — Jamaica