Return Call Scam

Program Resources

Federal Communications Commission
Federal Trade Commission

A telephone scam that has been around for many years has appeared again. This scam involves returning calls to the 809, 284 and 876 area codes that originate in the British Virgin Islands.

The caller leaves a message on your answering machine, gives their first name and leaves a message such as "“Sorry I missed your call ... Please call me back. I have something important to tell you.”" The reasons you are asked to call back vary and can include such things as a family member is ill, someone has been arrested, someone has died, or you have won a prize.

If you call the number back from the United States you will apparently be charged an inflated per-minute fee. Why this can work is that the above area codes can be used as “pay-per-call” numbers like 900 numbers and since this is in the British Virgin Islands it is not covered by U.S. regulations, which require consumers to be notified and warned of charges and rates. There is also no requirement that the company provide a time period during which you may terminate the call without any charges.

Protect Yourself from Return Call Scams

If this happens to you and you complain to your local phone company or long distance carrier, they will most likely state they are only providing the billing for the foreign company. You may end up spending hours trying to resolve the problem and dealing with a foreign company that will argue it has done nothing wrong. 

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 Department of Revenue warns about scam and threatening collection calls!


Taxpayers are reporting threatening collection phone calls that appe​ar to come from the state Department of Revenue (DOR). These calls are a scam.


DOR has issued a warning that the scammer is using Caller ID spoofing to make it appear as if the call is legitimate. These calls are not from the Department of Revenue.


DOR emphasized that it will not:
Require payment of taxes in a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest taxpayers for not paying.

Those receiving suspected scam phone calls should not give out personal or business information.



Scams Targeting Taxpayers

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. 

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Once Again Note that the IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.












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