Jamaca Scam:

 

Don’t call 876 Numbers:

 

A retired couple found a message on their answering machine that sounded like good news: “You’ve won $1 million.” Call Mr. James Carter at Global International Sweepstakes to claim your money. James Carter claims to be a resident of the local area however, the 876 area code for “James Carter” is in Jamaica.

The woman – who asked to remain anonymous, citing safety concerns – sensed a scam. A friend of hers had received a similar call the day before and posted it on Facebook. The caller had said the woman had won $1 million, but he was having some difficulty finding her house. Would she meet him in town?

“What we tell people is always err on the side of caution,” said a police officer “Always check with local authorities.” And that is certainly good advice in this case.

The Federal Communications Commission reports the area code is part of an international calling scam, as are 809, 649 and 284. Unsuspecting Americans who call the scammers are charged on their phone bills, much like 1-900 calls to chat lines and astrologers.

The couple called Carter this before learning how the scam works.

The Newspaper called on Thursday, a man answered, affirmed that he was Mr. James Carter, then said, “OK, hold on,” and put down the phone.

In the background, CNN spoke about NASDAQ. A young woman yelled for someone to pick up the phone. A dog barked. A woman coughed. People spoke in Spanish. After six minutes, the man came back on the phone.

“Hello, you still there? OK.”

The call was then ignored for 20 minutes.

The Newspaper called the number a second time. The same man answered. Then the same set of sounds played over the receiver. It was a recording, apparently intended to keep callers holding as long as possible. After six minutes, the man’s voice returned – also a recording.

“Hello, you still there? OK.”

On the third call, a real person answered.

The Newspaper asked if he was James Carter with Global International Sweepstakes, who was awarding money in the area. He said yes, but he couldn’t talk at the moment.

“I’m on the road getting another delivery completed,” he said in a Jamaican accent. “If it is possible, I will contact you back.”

The man claiming to be Carter did not call back by Friday afternoon.

The woman received a second call today from a different person, claiming to be from another sweepstakes organization. Same area code: Jamaica.

Police have received several similar complaints this week.

If anyone calls and asks you to call them back using 809, 649 or 284 area code numbers do not respond. You will be held on the line as long as possible and billed for the long distance call to some foreign location. The charge is usually pretty expensive and you will be expected to pay all charges.

For more information, visit http://www.fcc.gov/guides/calls-809-649-284-area-codes.

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