Did you get a call from area code (876)?

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Image of phoneRing, ring… you get a call from a number starting with area code (876). They call to say you’ve won the “Mega Millions” Jamaican lottery, and you could even win a car! All you have to do is pay a few thousand bucks in taxes or fees, and the big jackpot is yours.

That’s great news, right? Wrong.

Don’t send money to anyone who claims to have a prize for you. Odds are good that it’s a scam. And just so you know, playing a foreign lottery is against federal law.

A new twist: scammers are asking people to pay “taxes and fees” with prepaid cards. They tell you to go to the nearest pharmacy or a big retail store, buy a card, and call them back to read them the number. Whether you use a prepaid card or a wire transfer — once you send your money, you can’t get it back. So keep card and account numbers to yourself. Scammers use this information to hustle even more money out of you — and your accounts.

We get complaints from people who have lost A LOT of money to foreign lottery scams. Some folks have told us that they’ve been threatened with physical harm if they don’t pay the fees.

If you get a call about a foreign lottery, we recommend that you hang up. And before you do, you might want to tell the caller:

  • I never entered a foreign lottery, so I couldn’t have won
  • I never send money to someone who calls me
  • My phone number is on the Do Not Call Registry, so you shouldn’t be calling me — and I’m reporting your number  

Have you gotten a call like this? We want to hear about it. Submit a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint, or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. And learn more about recognizing and reporting lottery scams and prize scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

If the scammer has your patient's check, he has her bank account number and all the personal information she had printed on the checks. She can contact the bank and ask how to protect her account, in case the scammer tries to withdraw money using the account number.

If she gave out her Social Security number when she talked to the scammer or had it printed on her check, she can go to identitytheft.gov for tips on what to do to protect her credit records.

Please file a report with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also contact the state Attorney General in your state and in Illinois, where the scammer seems to be based.

We have a special set of information for older adults in our Pass It On campaign. You can print out fact sheets, or order them in bulk (for free) to share with people. To place a free bulk order, go to ftc.gov/bulkorder and search for Pass It On material.

i JUST GOT A CALL FROM THIS NUMBER TO MY PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT ON MY WORK PHONE. MAN SAID HE WAS CALLING FROM PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE. TOLD HIM THIS IS A BUSINESS AND TO NEVER CALL HERE AGAIN. I CALLED THE NUMBER BACK AND IT WENT RIGHT TO VOICEMAIL. GREETING DID NOT IDENTIFY THIS NUMBER AS BELONGING TO PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE. THOSE CALLS USUALLY COME FROM A CALL CENTER. REPORT ALL CALLS FROM 876-358-0307

The FTC really needs to offer some help on this scam upon the elderly! It is so widespread that it should be worth their time to help! It's easy to say "don't pick up" but my 85 year old father does pick up and thinks he can outsmart them. He, along with many others, cannot be reasoned with. He has always been a smart business man and full of integrity. So he trusts these people when they sound like his best friend and tell him they can tell he is a great business man...really play to his ego. It's caused him to be sneaky and deceptive because he knows we don't "believe". He has sent several thousand dollars and though he never receives anything, he will believe the next guy that calls tomorrow. He thinks there really is a prize. The FTC needs to offer a way to stop international calls. There is NEVER a reason my father needs to speak to someone in Jamaica or any other foreign country for that matter. I can block calls from anyone in the USA on his phone but international scammers get a free pass to prey on the elderly and no one will help. How can I start a petition for people to be allowed to block 876 or other area codes when they are a nuisance? It just can't be that hard!

The FTC's Pass It On has information designed for older adults. You can print the fact sheets about prize scams and share it with your father, or invite him to view the site online. You can also order print material at bulkorder.ftc.gov.

Bridget, thank you for your response and I do not in any way mean to be rude, but if you re-read my comment you'll see that we've talked to him plenty. Also, I have printed all of the FTC scam info for him which he promptly threw in the trash. Again, he can't be reasoned with and is not completely in his right mind. I truly hope you never deal with this situation and it's clear you haven't had an elderly relative involved to understand the frustration and extent of the problem which actually could be easily remedied with an international call blocking option. Per your comment below, his phone company (one of the big 2) does not offer international blocking options and says there is nothing they can do! Can block U.S. calls but foreign countries get a free pass (which I also said) and know how to use it to take advantage of the elderly. In all earnestness I would like to know how to contact someone who has the authority to allow or work with phone companies to block international callers. Sorry to repeat myself but the replies did not indicate understanding. Any direction on who to contact would truly be appreciated.

I posted a comment earlier but it has not appeared yet. The 876 calls are a HUGE problem. I use to report the specific numbers but found out it's futile. My Father has received calls from at least 50 different 876 numbers. Apparently there are a "mega million" of them involved. The FTC together with wireless and land line phone companies should offer an option to block foreign area codes. Even if it is for a monthly fee, it would be worth it to protect the many families who are affected by these scams. And wouldn't our government benefit by keeping the millions lost by American citizens to these foreign scams in our economy's circulation? There has to be a solution and some help that can be offered other than this venting page. Maybe the FTC only deals with fraudulent practices in our country (all of these scams have an in-country connection where you mail your money, etc...) but PLEASE direct us/me to the proper authorities for assistance with this problem that has become such a burden to my family.

The FTC works with consumer protection agencies in other countries to improve consumer protection. You can submit complaints about calls coming from outside the US to econsumer.gov. Contact your phone service provider to see if it offers additional blocking services.

I will definitely try the econsumer.gov link. Thank you. The phone company said they did not have international call blocking capability. It would be such a simple and useful option.

I’m sorry for your frustration. If your father has a traditional landline, you might consider switching to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. New technologies can offer more services, which may allow you to block incoming international calls. Also, if you search online shopping sites for “call blocker” — you’ll find a variety of products you can buy for your landline, along with reviews about how well they work. Hope this helps.

All options have been pretty thoroughly investigated. They live in a rural area and have few options for call blocking on their land line but have utilized all services available. However his cell phone is the problem. They know his schedule and call him at dialysis. I think my concern is not being made clear somehow. I don't understand why mobile phone companies do not offer an easy solution for blocking international calls, even for a fee. I'm absolutely positive they have this capability and if you read about these scams online, you'd understand what a helpful solution this would be for thousands of families whose elderly relatives are gullible and an easy target. My father needs and has a simple phone (not a smart phone) because he does still drive and such so we wouldn't take his phone away. And if I thought our situation was unique and isolated I'd just let it go. But I can literally find hundreds of stories just like ours online and know they represent hundreds more. These foreign scammers have to be amazed themselves at their easy access to prey on the elderly with nothing being done to stop them, How can we petition or move forward with that?

If you're not satisfied with the service being offered by your cell phone company, you might consider switching carriers. You also might want to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

July 17, 2015. At 7:30 am I got my first Jamaican scam call! Woke me up, calling on my cell phone, and some guy with a heavy accent told me I'd won 1.5 million dollars and a Mercedes Benz! I said wow that's great! During our five minute conversation he said his name was Michael Green from Publishing Clearing House. I asked if he meant Publishers clearing house and he said yes and gave me all sorts of numbers to write down after making sure I had a pencil and paper. I got a reference number and his badge number and even the license tag number of my new Mercedes. He asked if I had written this all down and I assured him I had but I don't think he believed me because he said are you taking this serious? Do you want this money? I assured him I did want the money! He said then there are some further instructions that I need to call this number back for. I said ok just don't ask me to send money to Jamaica at which point he hung up. Rats. I was enjoying the scam.

Mr. Green called me this afternoon about my winning $7.5 million and a new C class Mercedes. I was at work so I couldn't enjoy the scam as long as I would have liked, so I ended it at "do you know where the closest Western Union office is?" I wonder if he will call back. It does concern me that he knew so much about me.

I JUST GOT A CALL AT 10:00 07/ 17/2015 IT WAS A MAN WHO CALLED HIS SEFL MR. DAVID ANDERSON, HE WAS CLAIMING TO BE FROM PCH (PUBLISHER CLEARING HOUSE) AND CLAIMING I HAD WON A BIG MONEY PRIZE. I NEW RIGHT OFF IT WAS A SCAM CAUSE PCH WONT CONTACT YOU BY PHONE. I TOLD MR. WHOEVER HE WAS THAT I NO ITS A SCAM. PLEASE DONT CALL MY ******* PHONE ANYMORE. THE CALL WAS FROM JAMAICA THE NUMBER THAT CALLED WAS (876) 809-0969.DONT GIVE ANY PERSONAL INFO AWAY. DONT GET FOOLED FOLKS, THAT SCAM IS JUST ONE OF MANY.

do yourseves a favor and buy a call blocker that can block area codes and use it to block the 876 area code. I can block area codes, other call ranges and individual numbers with my panasonic wireless phone. It has given me blessed relief not only from the Jamaican "POTS JM" and "Cell Phone JM" telescammers, but all sorts of other telescammers also.

After 15 called and when I asked him to not call again...stating i have won something... he decided to curse at me and call me names.

Received a call from "John Dixon" at unknown number telling me I won 10.3 million dollars and a Mercedes Benz and that my prize package would arrive the next day they were coming with UPS and that he would call that morning to confirm, make sure I have ID with me. Thick Jamaican accent. Mr. John Dixon calls next morning, repeats the same info then puts me on hold to speak to CEO Mr.Kennedy. "What is going on is you have won 10.2 million dollars for paying your utility bill on time and for shopping at Walmart". What they needed me to do was go to Western Union and transfer 1% fee / $200 deposit to Beverly Hudson in San Jose California and then call them back at 520-385-5728 and if I could do that by 10am they would arrive with a portion of my package 1.3 million at noon and then transfer the rest of the money to my bank later. They asked if I wanted a private winning presentation or else a public presentation which would be broadcast on international television. They told me to keep my winning private so that I don't get robbed. I said ok to everything as I wrote it down for the purpose of reporting it to the RCMP. Since I did not call them back today and I did not transfer any money I have received calls from unknown # 15 times today, all of which I have no answered.

This "Mr. Anderson" from Jamaica called me this morning saying he was from PCH, I kept asking him how he got this number and he responded with "you don't know what PCH is? don't you remember signing up?" I responded with no, and he launched into an attack - "well then that's all you had to say, !" I immediately hung up and he proceeded to call back repeatedly until I blocked him. Genuinely unbelievable.

Jamaicans have been calling us for three years, telling my wife she has won millions and a car. The Jamaicans, of course, want money in advance. My wife had a stroke eight years ago, and her judgment was affected negatively. Sometimes, she wants to give it to them, and we end up in, ah, disagreement. Just had a call from a magazine sales company. They are just as larcenous as the Jamaicans. Phone swindlers don't stop. They have no scruples about how they steal money from the elderly and the inform (which to be fair is true of some supposedly "honest" companies.

After receiving many calls from Jamaican Scammers I have learned that one of the best ways to get them to hang up right away is to ask them "How is the weather in Jamaica?"

Haha! I'm gonna tell my 81-year-old neighbor to do this. She keeps answering calls from these Jamaican scammers. Just this week she "won" a Mercedes and a Mega Millions jackpot.

Received a call from 1-876-282-1946 wanting to confirm my name to inform me that I had won 7 million dollars for using my prepaid card at several stores he identified. i.e. Walmart, KMart, CVS, rite aid etc. I told him that the call was a scam be begged to differ and I hung up. He called back I answered and said "do not call me again, I am reporting you now". He called again 2 more times and I didn't answer.

1-876-366-7942 if you get a call from this number its a scam its NOT the lottery AND YOU DO NOT WIN NOTHING

I got a 876 call. I don't answer calls from numbers I do not recognize.

I just got a call from an 876 number. He said he was from the American Justice Department. I said really and what do you want. He asked me if I had been to Walmart, CVX or Walgreens and I asked him why he wanted to know and he said look lady I am just asking. I told him it was none of his business where I had been and I hung up on him.

876-513-1081 - Scammer with Indian(?) accent but Jamaica number. Called six times. First time I answered & he started saying something like: "Hello Sir..." Foreign accent - possibly Indian but good English. Hung up - he called 5 more times and I cut the call every time. Somewhere along the line he managed to leave a message and it was a "Publisher's Clearing House - you have won - including a Mercedes convertible...I will be waiting for your call."

I work for an automobile dealership and have become very familiar with these scams in the last 24 hours. I received a phone call from a man with a thick accent named "Ben Starcher" on Tuesday. He tells me he's from a town about an hour from me and that his father, "P. Starcher" , lives in town near our dealership and would like to test drive a vehicle. He tells me he's buying the car for his "father" and, only needs my assistance with a test drive to ensure he likes the vehicle-actually quite convincing. He asked me not to tell him that it's his son coordinating the deal (which I found strange) but to simply show up at the home on Wednesday at 4:00pm and say I'm "here to have you approve of the vehicle". I do, and P. Starcher, a very nice 91 year old man, with no accent (and I’m guessing certainly no relation), loves the vehicle. I leave my business card with P. Starcher in case he’s got questions. Mr. Starcher and I spoke this morning to conclude that he is in fact being scammed and has already sent this “company” thousands of dollars. When the man with the accent calls P. Starcher, he says his name is Peter Wells with a company called Mega Millions. He calls from 876-843-9563 as well as 876-331-1832.

My father-in-law just got scammed, who is 80 years old. I feel seniors are being targeted but you'll find that it is Americans that are the easy target. They have money in their pockets and are willing to take a take a chance at the wheel of fortune. These scammers ask for as much money as you can get your hands on.

Caller at 876-283-1284 a Jamaiican thief lives in a 683,000 home in the Tampa area. He's a pain in the ## and he keeps calling and calling and calling. I've won over a Billion $'s with him so far but I can't get my money because I won't go to Western Union to get a check to be sent to a Charmaine Murray in Portland Jamaica W.I. Once I send the check I need to call him ,give him the check # and he'll be on his way but not to my house to give me my million. He's the garbage of this earth and I wish him the 7 Plagues.

Ok so a family member that I live got caught up I a rather elaborate scam with this. It was so bad that these guys somehow changed the phone numbers for the land line and cell line. I called the house number and I am getting the same stuff. DO NOT ANSWER ANY CALL THAT YOU DO NOT RECOGNIZE!!! The publishers clearing house will never notify you as mentioned in there informational part of there website. If you pick up any call you that has been scamed do not call that number or you will receive scam calls. I am taking this extremely seriously because if my number can get used after contacting a scammed landline number any one can have this happen. Some of those guys will even send you texts if you let them. I have done my homework about this. When in doubt hang up. Pennsylvania is vulnerable right now due to the elderly population and if your not sure look it up on the OFFICIAL website. As started previously publishers will NEVER contact as stated on there website. I haven't looked up mega millions yet but I'm a positive it is the same way. Also if someone contacts you from the Columbian lottery it's fake. It is ILLEGAL to have an winning from another country. I cannot stress this enough when it doubt do your home work and do not pick up calls you do not know. I cannot stress this information enough. Be safe people

I just got one from 876-280-6239. I didn't pick up, but they actually left a message! Same deal. X-million and a car. Funny thing was that while the lady was giving the message, in the background you could hear a guy going through the same spiel with someone else! Pitiful.

I got a call from 876 area code and my caller id said also JM. The caller mentioned something about I had win a Mercedes car, but the day he called I was too sick to even count the conversation on the phone. Then next day a SATURDAY he called again I saw the number on call id and had already did my homework researching the number plus who the heck calls on a Saturday when most business calls Monday tru Friday only anyways? They must so desperate to scam people. I wonder if they also call Sunday? LOL.. Anyways I added the number to blocked calls...the end..

These scum bags have been calling for months. We are not stupid and haven't given them any money or info, yet they keep calling at all hours disturbing our family. We have to turn off the ringers every night when we got to bed as they call as early as 5am. Will now have to change our phone number. These are the numbers they have used: 876-259-8572;876-291-3939; 876-328-8017; 876-392-0451; 876-402-7612; 876-423-4490; 876-440-1090; 876-458-5261; 876-487-4375; 876-502-4738; 876-521-3450; 876-596-3109; 876-782-8712; 876-857-5917; 876-884-9354; 876-966-6401; 876-830-2015; 876-581-7145; 876-447-6557; 876-830-1257; 876-450-8765. They'll just keep calling with different numbers.

1-876-420-3809 Wal-Mart mega lottery guess I didn't answer correctly because he hung up on me LOL

These Jamaican lowlifes cal from the *&^ area code and continually CHANGE their number so they can't be blocked. Neither can the phone company block INCOMING foreign area codes/ What's the solution except to put my phone on silent and just answer messages from people I know????

I was contacted by a a man named true Michael Jefferson. Inforing me I won 2.5 mil from pch, he asked for 300.00 because " pch had negotiated with the government and the winnings wouldn't be taxed" he was rude, and tried to be intimidating. I told him no I would not pay a dime. Expressed my feelings by telling him he was full of crap and a scam. He told me I was very disrespectful and didn't care about my family and their future. I said I'm sorry you feel that way. But your still full of crap. He hung up. Here is the number 8678502535..

my problem is reversed.... I was charged on my cell phone bill for $179.14 for 7 calls TO one of the Jamaica numbers!! I never made the calls, because the date was a granddaughter's birthday, and we were up-River without service during the time the calls were made !! I'm working on getting the charges reversed, and have a Block on my line to prevent any international calls !! Totally frustrated !!

'David' called me today. First I hung up without talking, after he said he had a certified check for $3,000,000....he called back, went to the machine, he called back again 'why did you hang up?' I just screeched at him...and yes I am on the do not call registry....and I then hung up yet again...I guess there's just no sure way to stop these people...? This was the first time I had physical calls, emails yes, but not calls. They are stepping up their game it seems....with me at least!!!!

I just got a call from (876)581-0402 saying I won money from a publishing company and I never signed up for he said that I was supposed to have received a letter in the mail and just plain bs so I kept him talking and he wanted me to pay 595 dollars so that I could receive my cash prize and gave me this number to call back 18763405049 beware it's a scam don't fall for it

I got a call from 876-597-2702.....Guy was named David Green....My husband said hang up, it a scam....If you didn't enter any contest this how did you win something...So I hung up and he call back. I told him I am contacting the police to check this out and he said, "Get off my line, you are wasting my time", then he hung up. lol....in 3-4 minutes he called back from same number but this time his name was James Patterson....and I won 2.6 millions and a Mercedes Benz....I said you idiot you just tried to scam me and you call back inless than 5 minutes to do it again pretending to be another fake person....He said no, that wasn't me and then asked for my husband's number....I said his name is FBI and hold on let me get his number.....so he hung up....LMBO.....

My caller said that he was from Fed Ex and had a check for me. After several calls, I asked who the check was from. He said the North Carolina federation. Arrangements were made for the delivery, but he did not show. I then asked how much the check was for and he said 2.5 million. Now tell me when a FED EX driver knows how much a check is made out for and I will show you a crook. After several attempts to arrange the delivery, I called the police and filled a report, and then my Identity theft company. Last my cell phone company to ensure there were no surprise charges. I am a retired federal worker and my records were compromised. His number is 876-806-0586.

Got a call this morning promising $2.5M and a new Lincoln. Caller had address information from several years back I immediately recognized scam call. I played along providing no real information, I was supposed to call an 866 area code number, enter a confirmation code, then call the caller back. I wasted as much of this caller's time as was possible, then put his number in my selective call forwarding list which automatically forwards his calls to an agency of the U.S. government that would probably be very happy to contact this individual. Unfortunately, it's Saturday, so all he got was a recorded message, He tried to call back about 7 times before giving up.

I was also called and they said I won three mill from the price is right.... sheesh.

Got a call from 876-383-4578 says its from Jamaica but the caller did NOT sound Jamaican he sounded like he was from the mid east.

I was just told I won Publisher's Clearinghouse! The guy called from 876-892-6071 to let me know. I told him I wasn't an idiot and he hung up.

Scammer identifying himself as "David Morgan" at 876-430-7998 said that I had won "$750,000 and a new car." He had a heavy accent that was perhaps Middle Eastern.

876-463-8357 same scam

I got called from two numbers: 876-798-2222, 876-841-9351

I got a call today (27 Oct 2015) from a "driver" for Publishers Clearing House who told me i needed to call an 876 number right away to talk to "Albert Lopez" who would walk me through the process of claiming my 139,000 dollar certified check and brand new mercedes benz. The driver said he was near my home and awaiting instructions from ALbert for the presentation to take place. SO like a dummy I called albert (not knowing this was a Jamaican number) and Albert said I needd to stay on the phone with him and he would walk me through the process. He asked me to go to a Safeway, Walgreens or Walmart and get a Western Union Tender form. I went and got the form and then went to my house to see if anyone was there as he had my address. Of course noone was there and he said i needed to do the western union transfer for 325.33 to cover the "shipping and handling" on the car. I asked him if he worked for PCH and he hot upset and said i was asking too many questions. AFter a little more going back and forth with me being totally confused, I got irate and raised my voice to him. At that time he said he was going to transfer me to another PCH agent because he couldnt handle my stress level! lol And to my shock and surprise, I have not been contacted by any other agents from PCH! The guy had a thick accent and said several times this was legit. DONT BE SCAMMED BY THESE GUYS. They almost got me!

Got a call from these guys just now, 876-280-6239, KINGSTON JM. We are a business and answered as always, "good morning, this is me with"... At first there was dead air, then a guy came said hello, I said hello, he said hello, I said May i help you. He asked if he was calling a business and I said yes. He asked what the name was. This was strange to me because I had just said the name of the business and because I have never been asked that. I asked him what his name was, he told me "Barack Obama". At this point, I could hear an accent in his voice. I repeated, "Barack Obama?" He said "yes, Barack Obama, the president of the United States". I said, "look dude, you are not Barack Obama and don't call this number again please, we're not interested", assuming it was a crackpot sales call. He said, "I am Barack" and I cut him off, saying you are calling me from 876-280-6239.... with that he hung up.

If there are so many complaints about this number and scam, when are the whatever people who handle this kinda BS gonna do something to stop it?

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