Showing posts with label Scams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scams. Show all posts

Beware the 801 Area Code Phone Number Scam

Includes information about other phone scams; it's mot just the 801 number being used. Other area codes and phone numbers are also being used as well for all sorts of telephone solicitor and phone scams. Updated through 2019. These days, it is unwise to call back any unknown number, page explains all. As an example, everyone knows that the 900 number charges exorbitant fees if you call that code. Turns out that other numbers or codes that look like regular area codes will also do the same thing to you.

Is 801 a toll free number? No, it is not.
Area Code 801 Scams

Everyone knows the 800 number is a toll free call (there is a list of other legitimate toll free codes further down the page).

There are media reports companies are using the 801 number in place of the 800 number in their advertising. The apparent intent being to deceive people into thinking the 801 phone number is a derivation of the 800 phone number and would therefor also be a toll free call. It is not.

The 801 number is the area code for a part of Utah. Don't know if the companies are actually putting call centers there or just having the number forward to where the company's call center really is. Either way, your next phone bill will include full long distance charges for your call to Utah.

Any company unethical enough to pull this stunt is more than likely routinely doing other unethical things as well. If you see an 801 phone number and the company isn't already known to actually be located in Utah, it would probably be advisable to avoid that 801 number and company altogether.

Update, 2013

The 801 area code phone number is also being used in text message scams.

Update, 2014

Beware emails having the 801 number listed in their message.

Update, 2015

The 801 area code phone number is also being used as a fake caller ID number for phishing and outright fraud and other scams. If receiving a call from this number, simply do not answer. If you see an 801 area code in your voice mail list, do not activate the message; simply delete it. Malware can as easily be sent to a phone as to a computer.

[This sure is a heck of a note for the folks who live in the 801 area code part of Utah. Wouldn't be surprised if the State of Utah were to eventually have the number changed to one that couldn't be mistaken as toll free. Not to mention the fact the number's reputation has been completely ruined anyway. (An update regarding the affected areas of Utah... The 801 area code area now has an overlay area code of 385. In other words, residents can choose which area code to be associated with.)]

Updates, 2016

The scams continue. In fact, they are getting worse. And not just the scams involving the 801 number. There are media reports all other phone scams are being ramped up as well.

There Are Six Legitimate 800 Number Toll Free Codes

(Date Last Updated/Reviewed by FTC: Friday, September 8, 2017) According to the FTC, the current toll free codes are:
  • 800
  • 888
  • 877
  • 866
  • 855
  • 844

Updates, 2017

I've noticed I haven't always been notified when comments have been made and need to be moderated for publication. So if your comment doesn't show up right away, that is the reason. Going forward, I will regularly check the unmoderated comments section whether notified or not.

Please do keep posting suspicious 801 numbers. The search engines eventually index those numbers and will continue to point future potential victims here to be warned.

Three Worthy Resources to Read and Share at Your Leisure


Update, 2017, October

Do you get phone calls that when you answer, it just disconnects? It is highly unlikely you are being stalked. It is just a robocall machine ascertaining at what days and times you usually answer calls. It then duly reports that information to the telephone solicitor boiler room. The telephone solicitors then know on what days and times to call.

Well, actually you are being stalked; but it's just by telephone solicitors.

Update, 2017, December

New scam. Got a robocall informing me my IP connection had been compromised and would be disconnected withing the next 24-48 hours. It then asked me to press "1" for help. I immediately hung up.

How did I know it was a scam? Simple, they did not identify themselves. Whether automated call or real human, a legitimate caller would have first identified themselves, e.g., "This is XYZ support", etc. Also, I highly doubt such a call that was legitimate would be a robocall. It would be a human who would first identify themselves and ISP  and would then ask for me by name. What a farce; it just never stops. In fact, it just keeps getting worse.

Be careful out there.

Updates for 2018

#1 An addition to the October 2017 update. Never call back an unknown number out of curiosity that called you and then hung up. Not just the 801 area code, but any area code. Turns out that the 900 number isn't the only premium code number where you are billed major fees for calling. There are other numbers that look like area codes that will do the same thing to you.

#2 Got the well-know, phony IRS robocall claiming to be from IRS collections or whatever. Instead of hanging up, I set the phone down so as to tie up their line as long as possible. Probably caused at least three fewer people from getting that call today. Depending on my mood, I do that with most of my landline robocalls.

#3 This is off topic, but still the perfect place to include it. From Census Bureau:

[Quote]
Census Bureau - April 5, 2018
Someone is at your door and claiming to be from the census bureau. Legit or scam? Turns out it is probably legit. Here's how to tell:
- They will be wearing an identification badge.
- They will be able to provide you a verification phone number.
- They will not ask you for money, credit card numbers, or your social security number.
[Unquote]

If interested, here's a census bureau podcast about it.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't interact with anyone calling and claiming to be from the Census Bureau. I don't even think they make such calls.

And since am off-topic today; here's a short, non-census-bureau At Your Door Leaflet Scam Alert you might want to quickly scan.

#4 "Is Pat there?" Yep, appears to be another scam resurrected from year 2016. Back then they used the name "Miguel". You will receive repeated calls, I've gotten 5-6 already. He always says, "Is Pat there?" Your reply should be, "Pat is at area code (xxx) xxx-xxxx." As for "(xxx) xxx-xxxx", it can be:
    A.  Your local police non-emergency phone number.
   Or
   B. Select a number from the FBI alphabetical list of field offices near you at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices.

Needless to say, you forget to mention where the phone number you gave actually goes. Hopefully, the hint will be taken and the calls will stop. If they are actually stupid enough to call the number without checking first; with any luck, the caller's phone number and physical location will automatically be trapped. You've certainly done nothing wrong, you were just trying to help them find "Pat". After those previously mentioned  5-6 calls, I opted for option "A". If that doesn't work, I will then do option "B". If that doesn't work, then it's just immediately hanging up as I normally do with all telephone solicitors and scammers these days. [Update.  I never heard from them again after doing option A.]

#5 June already. Telephone solicitor activity actually seems to be on the decline. However, telephone scammer activity seems to be on the increase; and they know your name. So if a caller knows your name, it still doesn't necessarily mean it is a legitimate call. Always ask who is calling. And if they start asking for personal information, then it is hanging-up time.

#6 Telephone scammers are also using the survey technique. They will tell you they are doing a survey and then ask an innocuous question for your opinion, but then they follow up by starting to ask you questions about your personal information.

#7 The usual charity scams abound this Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. Needless to say; never, ever donate via phone call.

Updates for 2019

#1 Media reports say robocalls will increase and calls from humans will decrease.

#2 Well now; hopefully, all carriers will do this: Verizon will give subscribers free access to anti-robocall tools. There is other worthwhile information there as well.

[An update: regretfully, due to excessive spam, comments have been turned off for this site as of February 2019.]