Most phone plans include an option to make or receive international calls. Although this is a convenient feature for folks who do a bit of travelling or speak to family and friends who live abroad, many users don't use the plan and prefer not to have the option available.
Depending on your phone service or calling plan, you may be getting a charge on your bill for accepting unwanted international calls. Scammers are smart, but there are options for blocking incoming international calls before they are even put through to your phone line, protecting you from having to be charged for the calls in the first place. Simply answering a scam call can result in several hundred dollars being tacked onto your phone bill. There also are a number of scams going on that dupe people into making long-distance international calls, which can easily run up your phone bill.
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Things you need
- Copy of your phone plan/billing statement
Check your landline phone bill to see if you have international incoming and outgoing call blocking as part of your provider's services. If it's not on your bill, contact its customer service department to subscribe to this service, or order a domestic-only calling plan.
Contact your cellular service provider to activate the international call block service if it is not already part of your phone plan.
Be wary of any callback number with the following area codes---"809" (Dominican Republic), "876" (Jamaica), "758" (St. Lucia), or "664" (Montserrat). Scammers have been calling consumers and leaving callback numbers with these area codes.
Report suspected international scam calls to your telephone service provider.
Tips and warnings
- Research your options before you purchase any caller ID programs or devices for your phone service. Look for hidden charges or additional fees for the services.
- Some phone scams involve a mention of a sick or hurt relative or other emergency situation. If suspicious, hang up and contact your relatives directly.
- Be wary of scam programs that promise to lower your monthly phone bills or block unwanted calls. They may also have hidden fees attached that will wind up costing you more each month.
- Don't return calls from numbers you do not recognise, as many scams involve pay-per-minute or pay-per-call changes on your phone bill.
- Don't not rely on the National "Do Not Call" list as it does not apply to scam calls outside of the United States.
- Never divulge personal information over the telephone.
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