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INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re like me, you rarely answer unsolicited phone calls from unfamiliar numbers. You let it ring, wait to see if the caller leaves a voicemail, then decide whether to call them back.

For those who do answer calls from unknown numbers, experts remind us that scammers often use “spoofing” techniques to make it look like they’re calling from a different location, sometimes in our own hometown. For one thing, a local call is likely to seem more legitimate. Many phone systems can block calls from area codes that are known to be popular with scam operations. The scammers will “spoof” their number to avoid the automated caller ID blocking.

However, calls from overseas locations will sometimes get through. So, the folks at Social Catfish have compiled five area codes you should never answer a call from.

Area code 268 is associated with Antigua and Barbuda and is often used by crooks in scam operations.

Area code 876, in Jamaica, is often used in lottery scams and work-from-home fraud schemes.

Area codes 473 in Grenada, 649 in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and 284 in the British Virgin Islands are also known to be used by scammers for various kinds of fraud.

Calls coming from any of these area codes should generally be ignored, according to cyber security experts.  

Of course, you may not have all these numbers committed to memory, so you may not recognize them at the moment if you get a call. Your best bet if you get a call from an unfamiliar area code is to let it ring, then do an internet search to see if the area code is in a known scammer hotspot.

Another option, if you haven’t don’t it already, is to register your cell number on the federal Do Not Call registry. It won’t block all unwanted calls, but it is designed to block telemarketers. So if your number is on that registry, and you get a call from someone claiming to be a telemarketer, you know it’s a scam.

Registering on the Do Not Call list is free, and you can do it at the FCT’s website for the registry.