BEWARE: Scams from Area Code 876

Fairpoint Communications and Maine law enforcement agencies have launched a campaign to stop telephone scammers operating out of Jamaica from swindling money from elderly residents.

FairPoint officials said con artists are calling from a Jamaica area code and telling their intended victims that they have won a Jamaican lottery prize or a car, but need to pay money upfront to cash in.

“In many cases the scammer befriends the victim, going as far as professing their love,intent to marry or even praying with them,” said FairPoint Senior Manager of Security Larry Caruso in a written release. ” Once a victim is scammed out of money for the first time, the scammers work to get more and more money, including access to bank accounts and credit card information.” If the victim says they are out of money, the threats begin. ” It becomes belligerent, aggressive, saying we’re going to turn you into the FBI and it can even threaten physical harm to some points” said Mike Smith of FairPoint Communications.To help convince people that they are credible, the scammers may read newspaper obituaries to identify recent widows, and tell them to wire funds to cover insurance expenses. ¬†They may also use Google Earth to identify victims’ houses to issue realistic-seeming threats, consumer advocates explained.

FairPoint is now partnering with AARP and law enforcement to warn seniors about phone calls from the 876 area code. For more information on the Jamaican scams originating in area code 876, visit Beware of 876.