There’s nothing more frustrating than eagerly answering a call only to find out it’s a telemarketer or, worse, a scammer. You’d think that as technology gets more and more advanced we could avoid moments like this, but there are plenty of people out there who have found loopholes in the system in order to steal money from innocent people like you. And there are some scam phone calls with certain area codes that you should never pick up under any circumstances.
Joseph Steinberg, the CEO of SecureMySocial, lays out some easy guidelines to follow to avoid scammers. First, it’s important to know what their scam game is. These callers essentially call you and either don’t say anything or play disturbing sounds of someone crying for help, all in an attempt to get you to call them back once they hang up. Or they just try to get you to stay on the phone, which will charge you an exorbitant amount of money.
Steinberg says you should never ever call someone back if you happen to pick up this kind of call, but there’s a way to avoid answering the call altogether. And that’s by looking at the area codes of the scam call.
Any phone number that starts with 473 is a surefire sign that the call is a scam. “The name ‘473 scam’ comes from the fact that criminals have been known to use caller IDs with the area code 473–which appears to be domestic, but is actually the area code for the island of Grenada and several other islands outside the United States,” Steinberg writes for Inc.com.
809 is another area code to be wary of, since scammers use this area code from the Caribbean Islands. 900 is another classic one to look out for, since it was one of the first area codes to indicate a suspicious call.
To err on the side of caution, these are the other international area codes with a +1 country code you should avoid.
242 — Bahamas
246 — Barbados
268 — Antigua
284 — British Virgin Islands
345 — Cayman Islands
441 — Bermuda
473 — Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique
649 — Turks and Caicos
664 — Montserrat
721 — Sint Maarten
758 — St. Lucia
767 — Dominica
784 — St. Vincent and Grenadines
809, 829 and 849 — Dominican Republic
868 — Trinidad and Tobago
869 — St. Kitts and Nevis
876 — Jamaica
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t recognize the number, don’t pick it up.