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Published: Tuesday, 10/2/2001

Internet scam involving '809 area code' surfaces

What was a scam has turned into spam and the latest electronic version of the 5-year-old "809 Area Code Warning" is turning up in electronic mailboxes throughout the area.

Don't be upset, experts say, this e-mail is more vermin than virus. Simply delete any mail that says "Do not dial area code 809" in the subject line.

"Internet ScamBusters," an online service that tracks electronic mischief, first warned of the area code rip-off in 1996. Dozens of Toledo-area users received the message this week through "spam" mass-mailing programs.

Laura Merritt, a communications manager for Verizon Wireless in Dublin, Ohio, said she hears of such scams often. "These things come and go. We recommend you just use common sense," she said. "Be very cautious about giving any personal information to anyone on the phone or online. If you're talking to someone, get his name and his company's telephone number and call to check up on who he is. If things don't add up, talk to your local police."

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