Five Area Codes You Should Never Answer

Sophia Taylor

By Sophia Taylor


Five Area Codes You Should Never Answer

We’ve all answered calls from phone numbers we don’t recognize only to find it’s a scam or a cold caller.

These calls aren’t just a nuisance; they can also cost you money.

According to Truecaller, the average successful scam call costs victims $577—up 14.9% from the previous year.

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid answering the phone to scammers altogether. But how do you know which ones to ignore?

This article provides a list of area codes not to answer and explains how to protect yourself from scam phone calls.

⚠️ Five area codes you should never answer

Unless you are expecting a call, be wary of calls from these area codes. A high percentage of scam calls are known to originate from these countries:

268 area code: Antigua and Barbuda

868 area code: Trinidad and Tobago

649 area code: Turks and Caicos Islands

829 area code: Dominican Republic

876 area code: Jamaica

Why Do Phone Scammers Use These Numbers?

You’ll notice that most of these countries are based in the Caribbean. This means they all have the country code +1—the same as the United States. This makes it look like they are U.S.-based and therefore appear more trustworthy.

What Scams Are These Phone Numbers Used For?

What Scams Are These Phone Numbers Used For

There are many different scams coming from these phone numbers. Some are associated with certain area codes.

Here are some of the more common phone scams to be aware of:

🚨 The one ring scam

This is where the scammer uses a robocaller to phone your number and hang up before you can answer. The aim of the scam is to get you to call the phone number back, at which point you’ll be automatically connected to a premium-rate phone number. You could be immediately charged as much as $50 and you probably won’t realize until your bill arrives.

Because they use robocallers, scammers are able to make thousands of these kinds of calls in just a few minutes. Chances are at least some of these people will call back.

Sometimes you’ll hear a warning of the higher charge rate when you call one of these numbers.

But more often, you won’t. The best indication of a genuine call is if the caller has left a message. If they haven’t, it’s probably a mistake or a scam. You can also search for the number online. If it’s a scam, there will likely be plenty of people posting warnings.

🚨 Ring and run

In this phone scam, the victim receives a call where the scammer claims there is an emergency regarding a friend or a relative of yours. They usually claim to work for an organization trying to help that person.

They may ask you to pay money to help that person. Or they may ask you to call them back. Similar to the one-ring scam, the number they call back is a high-cost line that is charged per minute.

Most people won’t be fooled. But if you are worried, contact the person supposedly in trouble from another phone to see if they really are in trouble.

🚨 Work-at-home scams

These phone scams usually offer the chance to work for yourself, earn lots of money and enjoy job flexibility. However, they usually ask you to pay an upfront fee or provide lots of personal data.

In reality, the job is fake. The scammer will take your money and run or use your personal details to commit fraud or hack your accounts. This kind of phone scam is often associated with calls from Jamaica.

🚨 General unsolicited calls

There are two main types of unsolicited calls:

  1. Someone falsely claiming to be from an organization and offering assistance that you didn’t ask for.
  2. Someone trying to get your bank details by pretending to sell you something—usually something that is too good to be true.

A good example of the former is calls from people posing as IT support agents and claiming that your computer has a virus. They will often trick people into giving them money to fix the fabricated problem.

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What Action Should I Take?

Here are some tips to keep yourself safe from scam callers:

Don’t answer or call back

Don’t answer phone calls from any of the numbers listed above unless you’re expecting them. Don’t call them back either. You may also wish to not respond to any unknown callers. If it’s urgent, they will leave a message or find another way to contact you.

Block the number

Most phones have a function for blocking nuisance numbers. Use yours immediately so you aren’t caught off guard.

Report it to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC regulates interstate and international communications across the U.S. and its territories. Reporting scam calls to the FCC helps them to understand what threats people face so that they can help combat them. You can also find helpful advice on how to protect yourself from scam callers on the organization’s website.

Register your number on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry

The Do Not Call Registry is a self opt-in list of numbers that don’t want to receive unsolicited sales calls. It is considered good practice for companies to avoid contacting these numbers.

By signing up, you know that any company that contacts you is most likely a scam, as any trustworthy organization would adhere to the Do Not Call Registry.

Use apps that block robocalls and spam calls

If you are receiving spam on your cell phone, there are several apps you can use that allow you to block robocalls and spam emails.

Conclusion: Awareness Is Key

Scam calls are a real threat to anyone that uses a phone. The best way to avoid falling victim to them is to be aware of which numbers may be scams and to avoid answering them altogether.

It’s also good to understand the different types of phone scams, so you know if someone is trying to con you.

But scam calls aren’t the only way fraudsters put your security at risk. Today, cell phone users face several threats.

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