📲 Several area codes are frequent scam alerts

🚩 There are different kinds of scam calls used

🚫 Apps can help block suspicious calls, texts

Federal and state law enforcement have been ratcheting up the pressure against phone scammers, with a well-named “Operation Stop Scam Calls” initiative.

As outlined this summer, the Federal Trade Commission and more than 100 partners nationwide, including New Jersey’s attorney general and his peers in 49 states, announced a crackdown on illegal telemarketing calls.

Efforts have been aimed at telemarketers, the companies that hire them and lead generators who collect and provide consumers’ phone numbers to robocallers.

While dodging scam calls can feel a bit like playing “Wack a mole” on the boardwalk, there are some area codes that are giant red flags, as collected by the Better Business Bureau and socialcatfish.com:

Area codes you should never pick up (Canva) (3)
473 area code (Canva)

473 Area Code

This area code is linked with the islands of Grenada and Carriacou. Calls from here might appear to be domestic, but are international calls, not always included in calling plans, and can cost a lot to call back.

In “473 scams,” people might use the “one ring” method — letting the phone ring once to spark curiosity and get the person to call back to see who it was. Calls to such numbers can sometimes cost more than $20 for the first minute.

873 area codes you should never pick up (Canva)
873 area code (Canva)

876 Area Code

For over a decade, scammers have used this area code associated with Jamaica.

Among various types of fraud, lottery scams have been popular among people using this area code. Callers claim the person has won a large cash prize, vacation getaway, vehicle, or other prizes.

649 Area codes you should never pick up (Canva) (2)
649 Area code (Canva)

649 Area Code

This area code is associated with the Turks and Caicos Islands.

As described by GoBankRates.com, “scammers use robo-dialers to call you and hang up after just one ring. When you call back to see who called, they might charge a connectivity fee and per-minute fees for what will appear on your bill as premium services.”

284 Area codes you should never pick up (Canva) (4)
284 Area code (Canva)

284 Area Code

This area code is associated with the British Virgin Islands, but is also known to be used by scammers in various types of fraud.

As a Federal Trade Commission official puts it, “There’s no danger in getting the call: the danger is in calling back and racking up a whopping bill.”

268 Area codes you should never pick up (Canva) (5)
268 Area code (Canva)

268 Area Code

This area code is associated with Antigua and Barbuda, and also is known to be used in “one-ring” scams.

Variations of this scam rely on phony voice-mail messages urging you to call a number with an unfamiliar area code to “collect a prize” or to notify you about a “sick relative.”

🚩 What if you get charged for a ‘one-ring’ scam?

If you are billed for a call made due to such a scam, first reach out to your phone service provider to try and resolve it.

Otherwise, you can file a complaint with the FCC, online, by phone or via mail.
• Online at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov
• 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL:
• Sending a letter with your name, address, contact information and detail about the
complaint, to the following address:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
45 L Street NE, Washington, DC 20554

anti-scam tip 1 (Canva)
anti-scam tip 1 (Canva)

🚩 Also beware ‘package delivery’ scams

Ever received a surprise text message or voicemail saying you need to take action to receive a package that you don’t recognize ordering?

Calling back or clicking the link in the text, often brings you to a website feedback page that looks like Amazon or another familiar site.

You’re then notified that you have won a prize. In reality — there’s no prize, it’s just scammers looking for your credit card number.

anti-scam tip 2 (Canva)
anti-scam tip 2 (Canva)

🚫 Are there tools for blocking spam calls/texts?

With wireless providers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon, you can report offending texts by copying and pasting the original text and forwarding it to 7726, free of charge, according to NJ consumer affairs officials.

anti-scam tip 3 (Canva)
anti-scam tip 3 (Canva)

There are also spam call blocking apps — some that are free, some that require payment, as rounded up by Mashable.

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

LOOK: Do you know these 50 famous acronyms?

This list from Stacker features a collection of the most common acronyms and their meanings. Popular abbreviations include establishments like ACLU, YMCA, ad the AARP.

Gallery Credit: Rachel Cavanaugh

11 Bad Laundry Habits to Break Immediately

Save time, money, and frustration with these simple laundry life hacks. 

Gallery Credit: Danielle Kootman

From coast to coast: The 20 best regional fast-food chains to try

From burgers to subs and even creamy milkshakes, these tasty fast-food chains, compiled by Stacker, are a must-try on your next road trip.

Gallery Credit: Kiersten Hickman

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM