The first three digits of a phone number are the area code of the phone number which is intended to give you an idea of the area that the call is coming from. There is one area code that we often hear about here at the BBB, the infamous 876 area code.
We often get calls from consumers who have received a call from an 876 number or have been instructed to call an 876 number in order to receive “winnings” from a lottery or for some business deal or any number of things. The caller almost always wants either money or information. Consumers often think that the number is toll free because it is similar to 866 and 877 numbers however it is not toll free and is a foreign number subject to charges. Do not call an 876 number or provide any money or information to them.
Area code 876 is the area code for Jamaica and is one of the most common areas for telemarketing scams. So much so that law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Jamaica work together in a project called JOLT (Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing). The purpose of JOLT is to try to shut down these telemarketing scams in Jamaica that target US citizens.
To help them in their efforts to stop scammers in Jamaica the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) asks consumers to report calls like these to the FTC. You can report telemarketing fraud of any kind including telemarketing calls from Jamaica to the FTC at www.ftc.gov or by calling toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
Again beware of any telemarketing involving the area code 876 and report any telemarketing fraud to the FTC. By reporting it you are helping law enforcement agencies to fight this kind of fraud.
Also be aware of the area codes 809, 649 and 284 as these are associated with cross-border telemarketing fraud from countries other than Jamaica but should also be reported to the FTC.
You can see the FTC Consumer Alert about this specific topic here.