Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CCSO Warns About Area Code 876 Scam

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office wants to warn the community about a telephone scam that originates in the 876 area code in Jamaica.

Deputies warn that this scam has victimized people in several states.

The caller typically tells the potential victim that he or she has won the Jamaican Lottery or the Caribbean Lottery. The caller instructs the person to send in a processing fee – often up to several thousand dollars - in order to process their claim to the prize.

Deputies staffing CCSO’s new Call Before You “Pay” hotline have received several calls recently from people who were rightly skeptical about the legitimacy of the call they received from the 876 area code.

CCSO offers these tips to help you stay safe:

• If you get a call saying you’re a winner – don’t pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate operations won’t require you to pay to collect your winnings.

• It’s against federal law to play a foreign lottery – so if you get a call it is likely a scam.

• Never wire money to anyone with whom you are not familiar.

• Never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers.

• Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls.

• Be aware that there are many 3-digit area codes that connect callers to international telephone numbers – especially 876.

• If you do not have Caller ID, consider adding it to your phone service. Caller ID allows you to add a Call Intercept feature that screens calls and offers the option to reject suspicious international calls.

• If you do not make international calls, ask your telephone provider to block outgoing international calls.

• Contact your phone service provider, local authorities, or the Federal Trade Commission to report a potential scam.

• If you are contacted by anyone you don’t know who is seeking money or personal information, contact CCSO’s Call Before You “Pay” hotline before you decide whether to provide the money or information being requested. The number is 239.252.CALL (2255). It is staffed during business hours Monday through Friday.