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Snopes Report At Odds With Pocatello Police Warning About Scam

The Pocatello Police Department is advising residents not to respond to phone calls, emails, or web pages that require you to call an 809 phone number, but this warning may be at odds with the rumor-checking website Snopes.

On Tuesday, the Pocatello Police Department advised residents not to respond to phone calls, emails or web pages that require you to call an 809 phone number, which is assigned to the Bahamas or Dominican Republic. From the United States, you will be charged $2,425 per minute, police said, adding that complaints have also been associated with 649 and 876 area codes. The Bannock County Sheriff’s Office repeated the warning Wednesday.

Pocatello police said Wednesday that they had received four or five complaints about this scam over the last week.

However, reports that rumors about a scam originating from the 809 area code are a “mixture of true, false and outdated information.”

The site notes that not every number in that area code is part of the scam, and that calling a number from there will not necessarily result in these charges, the amounts of money involved have become “greatly exaggerated” and that the average U.S. resident is unlikely to encounter it, as the scam was more common in the 1990s.

Police said that once you make that return call you?re likely to be connected to a lengthy prerecorded message or a person who tries to keep you on the line as long as possible. According to police, victims have seen phone bills approaching $20,000, though Snopes says the number may be closer to $25 per minute. The Utah Better Business Bureau says you will not be charged an exorbitant fee, but you will foot the bill for an international call.

“Most consumer watchdog organizations report they receive far, far more calls from people concerned about the emailed warnings than from actual victims,” Snopes said.

Click here for the full Snopes analysis.

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