Every so many months, criminals will use a phone number scam in an effort to steal a person’s hard-earned cash. Don’t fall victim or prey to their scam. By learning how the scam works, you can keep your money safely in your wallet.

3 Ways Criminals Use The “Phone Number” Scam

When it comes to the popular phone number scam, there are three ways in which a criminal will try to get your attention. What are the three ways?

  • They will go after their victims by repeatedly calling them (thanks to robocall autodialers). The information displayed will supply the caller ID information – information the victims don’t recognize and the call ends before anybody can answer. This is done to arouse interest in the victim. Criminals will repeatedly do this in an effort that the victim will call them back.

  • Criminals will call a victim, but won’t hang up. Instead, they’ll call in the hopes the victim will answer the call. When this happens, the criminal will play a recording of sounds of someone in distress and then end the call. Many times, people are too kind-hearted for their own good and will call the number back. Some criminals will act like a collection agency, a doctor treating a relative or a government official to get the victim’s attention.

  • Criminals will send text messages that say they are in danger and need assistance. It will look like an accidental text, but their hope is that the victim will text or call back.

In each of the above situations, criminals do want you to call or text them back. Each of these calls is a part of the “Ring and Run Scam” or the “473 Scam. The numbers that show up on your caller ID or in text messages are noted as being “premium numbers.” If you make calls to them or send a text message back, you are charged for it. This can be quite costly.

So what do you need to do to protect yourself and keep your money? Don’t call the number and don’t text it.

3 Frequently Asked Questions About The Scam

What Is The 473 Scam?

You may be wondering where the “473 Scam” name came from. It’s the result of criminals using numbers from the 473 area code number. It looks domestic, right? Well, actually 473 is the area code for the island of Grenada and other outside the U.S. islands. These calls need the country code +1. Any calls made to the 473 area code are international calls and are typically not added into calling plans. This means your bill will increase significantly. In fact, you may end up paying $20 for a single minute.

Criminals that use the 473 scam are similar to the 900 numbers that were once used in the U.S.

It’s also similar to the scam they ran on pages. Go back about 20 years when pagers were the way to keep in touch. Criminals would page people with premium numbers in the hopes that the victim would call the number and be charged.

Should You Be Concerned With Other Numbers In The Phone Number Scam?

Yes, there are other numbers to be mindful of beside the widely used 473. Besides international numbers that appear to be American. There are various U.S. and Canadian territories that use the country code +1. Many scammers don’t work in U.S. and Canadian territories to carry out their phone number scam, but many telephone plans don’t regard these calls as being free or domestic.

Below is a long list of numbers used to carry out the calls including both Canadian and U.S. area codes.

What Kinds Of Lessons Should You Take From This Scam?

It’s important you take one lesson away from the 473 scam, and that’s this: you must keep yourself safe from being a victim of a scammer.

Since the majority of Americans known that 900 numbers are premium numbers, criminals had to start using other area codes to pull off their crimes. For example, 809 is the Caribbean Islands area code. This scam became known as the 809 scam. Once coverage was made about this scam, the scammers had to resort to other numbers. With so many out there, it’s hard to know what is and is not a scam number.

With the technology people have today, they’re able to respond to missed calls and text messages faster. They may not consider whether or not they should call the number back. On top of that, it’s human nature to worry when a phone number calls, and it’s someone screaming in the background for help.

Scammers are far more sophisticated today than they were 10 years ago. When more people become aware of a scam, they have to improvise and up their game to scam victims.

What’s The Biggest Lesson To Take Away?

Here’s the biggest lesson you should remember: Anyone who really needs you can leave a voicemail or send you a text message. If you don’t get either one, and you have no idea who is calling from the number, then forget about it. Chances are it’s someone you don’t know and is a scammer from another country. On top of that, nobody in real distress is going to call a random number to help them. Rather, they’re going to call the real police.

Below is a list of international area codes in +1 country codes currently being used in scams:

  • Anguilla – 264
  • Antigua - 268
  • Bahamas – 242
  • Barbados - 246
  • Bermuda – 441
  • British Virgin Islands – 284
  • Carriacou, Grenada & Petite Martinique - 473
  • Cayman Islands - 345
  • Dominica – 767
  • Dominican Republic – 809, 829 & 849
  • Jamaica – 876
  • Montserrat – 664
  • St. Kitts & Nevis – 869
  • St. Lucia – 758
  • St. Maarten – 721
  • St. Vincent & Grenadines – 784
  • Trinidad & Tobago – 868
  • Turks and Caicos – 649

Below is a list of area codes for U.S. territories being used in scams:

  • American Samoa – 684
  • Guam – 671
  • Northern Mariana Islands – 670
  • Puerto Rico – 939 & 787
  • U.S. Virgin Islands – 340

Below is a list of area codes for Canadian provinces being used in scams:

  • Alberta – 403, 587 & 780
  • British Columbia – 236, 250, 604 & 778
  • Manitoba – 204 & 431
  • New Brunswick – 506
  • Newfoundland – 709 & 879
  • Northwest Territories & Nunavut– 867
  • Nova Scotia – 902
  • Nunavut – 867
  • Ontario – 226, 249, 289, 343, 365, 416, 437, 519, 613, 647, 705, 807 & 905
  • Quebec – 418, 438, 514, 579, 581, 819 & 873
  • Saskatchewan – 306 & 639
  • Yukon – 867

Other numbers to be mindful of include:

• 600, 622, 633, 644, 655, 677 & 688

Any 900 number should also be considered a scam or premium number. In Canada, 976 numbers after the area code are similar to 900 number. New York’s 540 numbers are considered premium numbers, but these have slowly been weeded out and disconnected.