Get a Strange Phone Call with an 876 Area Code? It's Probably a Scam

calls from this area code have been linked to an ongoing, persistent phone scam targeting consumers across the country

Get a Strange Phone Call with an 876 Area Code? It's Probably a Scam.
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June 22, 2018

If you get an unexpected phone call from a number that begins with an 876 area code, be extremely suspicious—there's a very good chance it's a scam!

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calls from this area code have been linked to an ongoing, persistent phone scam in which victims are told that they have won the Jamaican lottery.

How the Con Typically Works

The callers will usually identify themselves as lawyers, customs officials or lottery representatives, and tell people they've won vacations, cars or thousands—even millions—of dollars. The catch comes when the caller requests that you pay a few thousand dollars in mandatory fees for shipping, insurance, customs duties or taxes before you can collect your winnings.

To pay the necessary fees, the scammer may pressure you to wire money through a commercial money transfer service or to purchase a prepaid debit card from a local store--both of which are the same as sending cash. You may also be asked to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Con artists often recommend these services so they can get their hands on your money before you realize you've been cheated. When the money's gone, there's very little chance of ever getting it back.

Threats of Physical Harm

Some consumers that have been targeted by this scam have even reported being threatened with physical harm if they don't comply and pay the fees. But don't worry—this is only a scare tactic to intimidate you into paying.

Remember, a legitimate lottery or sweepstakes will never require you to pay "insurance," "taxes" or "shipping and handling charges" to collect your prize.

Report All Suspected Scams

If you receive one of these scam phone calls, hang up immediately and report it to the FTC.