Scam Alert - SCAM ALERT - Scam Alert

Subject: Computer Theft Scam

Date: 02/03/97

There is a big scam going on where a person calls and says that they are doing a computer survey from a company. The company name that they give is usually a big well-known software company, and they usually say that they are doing the survey because they want to give out free software. They want to know what would be a good time for someone to come from their company and install the software on your PC. They also ask questions about income, etc.

During their questioning, they (unknowingly to you) find out what time you're usually home, what kind of computer equipment you have and all sorts of other valuable information. At a company where a friend of mine works, a co-worker of his received one of these calls, and he was robbed the very next day (of course, when he was not home). I received a similar call yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, I knew about this ahead of time, and we didn't provide them with any information.

I want to make you all aware of the situation and the potential danger involved in giving out any information like this over the phone. The people sound very genuine, and very few people are going to question receiving free software. I would advise you, however, to tell the people that if they have your phone number, they should have your address (we think they're getting it off the internet somehow), and they can mail you any free software they might be offering. If you have a home computer set-up, you should be familiar with installing your own software. You may even want to tell them you don't have a home computer. Whatever you're comfortable with. Please don't give out any information that you may regret later. Pass this information along to friends and family members, as well. The fewer people they are able to scam, the better.

SUBJECT: Computer Thief Scam

I thought that this con might be worthy of transmittal.

Robert H. Starr, E-mail:

This message is being passed along for your information from other concerned Hughes employees -- please post for non-cc:Mail users:

* * * * * * * * * * * * Computer Thief * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If anyone calls you at home and asks if you'd like to get Corel Suite for FREE, tell them you don't have a computer. One of our guys here just got robbed after agreeing to participate in "Corel's give away." He was kind enough to tell them, over the phone, what kind of computer he had and when he would be home, or when he wasn't, so he could receive his package. They cleaned him out the next day.

Goes to show ya, nothing in this life is FREE!!!

Subject: Phone Scam Alert

From: Bill Hickey, E-mail:
To: Freemasonry Net:

I rarely do this, but this pager scam stuff is getting pretty serious.

If you have a pager (and many more of us seem to have them nowadays), be aware of the following:

In the recent months, there has been a widely reported scam where people get paged by a number in the 809 area code. When they call it, they find out it's in the Dominican Republic or somewhere like that and they also find out that it has just cost them $25 or more to reach that number.

It would seem our scam artists are becoming more creative. There is a common phone number (404-5468) that is used with ALL of the following area codes:

204, 268, 306, 403, 416, 418, 506, 514, 519, 604, 613, 705, 709, 807, 809, 819, 902, 905.

Do NOT call these numbers. It's beginning to look like you should be wary of ANY number you don't recognize on your pager when it shows up.

SCAM: Dont Respond To Emails, Phone Calls, Or Pages Which Tell You To Call An "809" Phone Number.

This is a very important issue of Internet ScamBusters! because it alerts you to a scam that is: - spreading *extremely* quickly - can easily cost you $100 or more, and - is difficult to avoid unless you are aware of it. Wed like to thank Paul Bruemmer and Brian Stains for bringing this scam to our attention - both will receive Internet ScamBusters! tee shirts. This scam has also been identified by the National Fraud Information Center and is costing victims a lot of money. There are lots of different permutations of this scam, but here is how it works:

Permutation #1: Internet Based Phone Scam Via Email You receive an email, typically with a subject line of "*ALERT*" or "Unpaid account." The message, which is being spanned across the net, says:


I am writing to give you a final 24hrs to settle your outstanding account. If I have not received the settlement in full, I will commence legal proceedings without further delay. If you would like to discuss this matter to avoid court action, call Mike Murray at Global Communications on 1 809 496 2700.


Permutation #2: Phone Or Pager Scam You receive a message on your answering machine or your pager which asks you to call a number beginning with area code 809. The reason to youre asked to call varies: it can be to receive information about a family member who has been ill, to tell you someone has been arrested, died, to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc. In each case, youre told to call the 809 number right away.

Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls. If you call from the US, you will apparently be charged $25 per-minute! Sometimes the person who answers the phone will speak broken English and pretend not to understand you. Other times, youll just 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. Unfortunately, when you get your phone bill, youll often be charged = more than $100.00.

Heres why it works: The 809 area code is located in the British Virgin Islands (the Bahamas). The 809 area code can be used as a "pay-per-call" number, similar to 900 numbers in the US. Since 809 is not in the US, it is not covered by US regulations of 900 numbers, which require that you be notified and warned of charges and rates involved when you call a "pay-per-call" number. There is also no requirement that the company provide a time period during which you may terminate the call without being charged. Further, whereas many US phones have 900 number blocking (to avoid these kinds of charges), 900 number blocking will not prevent calls to the 809 area code.

We recommend that no matter how you get the message, if you are asked to call a number with an 809 area code that you dont recognize, investigate further and/or disregard the message. Be *very* wary of email or calls asking you to call an 809 area code number.

Its important to prevent becoming a victim of this scam, since trying to fight the charges afterwards can become a real nightmare. Thats 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. Youll end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong.

Please forward this entire issue of Internet ScamBusters! to your friends, family and colleagues to help them become aware of this scam so they dont get ripped off.