Phone Numbers In Depth » 0809, 0284 and 0876 area code scam hoax

0809, 0284 & 0876 number hoax

Recent warnings circulating online have advised people not to call area codes 0809, 0284 or 0876 because they will be charged at £50 per minute or more.

These 'warnings' contain information that is untrue or irrelevant in the UK. They are hoaxes and should be ignored.


The warning emails typically say something like:

Do not dial area code 0809, 0284, and 0876 from the UK... They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc. In each case, you are told to call the 0809 number right away. If you call from the UK, you will apparently be charged £100 per minute and you'll get a long recorded message.

If you receive this warning

These emails and Facebook posts are hoaxes. They are a poor copy of old chain emails from the United States, where similar area codes 809, 284 and 876 are for international calls and get charged at a higher rate than normal calls.

You should ignore the advice given about these numbers and you should not share or forward the warning. However, it is worth being aware of the lower-cost scams that can take place using other numbers.

Should I be worried?

Ignore warnings about 0284, 0809 and 0876 codes. Numbers starting with 028 are normal landlines, while numbers starting with 0809 or 0876 do not even exist in the UK.

However, be sensible about calling back any number you don't recognise. Similar scams have been run using different numbers - although the charges involved are much, much lower.

What numbers are safe to call?

No numbers cost £50 per minute to call, but some cost a little more than a normal phone call. In particular, watch out for numbers starting 00, 070, 09 or 118.

Look up the first two digits of a phone number in the table below for general advice.

Where a number is classed as 'safe' it costs relatively little to call - usually under 25p per minute from a landline or 50p per minute from a mobile at most. It does not guarantee that calls to such numbers are included in free talk time or call allowances.

00 Be aware This is the code for dialling internationally. Most numbers are legitimate, but will obviously cost more than a normal national call.
Safe Normal landline numbers charged at standard rate.
05 Safe Corporate numbers for business.
070 Caution Personal numbers. Often legitimate, but not the same as normal mobile numbers and have been used for low-value scams in the past. Can cost up to 70p per minute.
Safe Mobile numbers.
076 Be aware Mobile phones in Isle of Man and pagers. Mostly safe to dial, but have been used for a few low-value scams in the past.
Safe Mobile numbers.
080 Safe Freephone numbers.
Be aware Service numbers. Charges of up to 13p per minute and/or 13p per call, plus your phone company's access charge.
09 Caution Service numbers. Charges of up to £3.60 per minute and/or £6.00 per call, plus your phone company's access charge.
116 Safe Freephone special helplines.
118 Caution Directory enquiries firms use numbers starting '118'. They can be very pricey, especially if you choose to be put through to the company or person you're calling.

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