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Experts: Beware Of The 809 Area Code Phone Scam

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The spam calls keep coming, but this one leaves a voicemail and it sounds like you should call them back.

The call, however, could cost you, CBS2's Clark Fouraker reported Thursday.

The call comes from a 10-digit number that looks domestic, but beware of area codes 809, which is in the Dominican Republic, 284, the British Virgin Islands, and 876, Jamaica.

"You're actually dialing internationally, and international rates apply. You can pay normal rates if you're calling a friend or family member, but there are also services called 'premium services,'" said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.

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Stock image of cell phone. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Those services could be lines dedicated to gambling or psychic readings. A new email warning says they leave a message that says, "Hey this is Karen. Sorry I missed you. Get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you."

"It's very sad, and it's so many scams," said Hope Chasin of the East Village.

"It's outrageous, of course, and AT&T or Verizon should block those calls and I'm sure they're able to do it if they want," Midtown resident David Pagar added.

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The scams keep happening because the cost for scammers is so low. They can spam thousands of phones for next to nothing, and if just one person falls for the trick the scammers often walk away with a profit, Fouraker reported.

"Because of relationships they have with the phone company or the operator of that premium line get a kickback," Breyault said.

That happens because the domestic and international phone company have paid each other for facilitating the international call. By the time you get your bill, you're the only one who hasn't paid.

"I tend to not call back any number that I don't know that haven't left a message just because of scammers," Long Island resident William MacCloud said. "People trying to charge me on my cellphone."

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The scammers bet on a small charge between $10-$30 not catching your attention. Experts say if you notice a charge on your bill to call your phone company and ask for the charge to be removed.

If the phone company won't drop the charge, experts say to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

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