Tisbury police caution Islanders about phone scam


Tisbury police caution Islanders to be wary of a phone scam in which they may be asked to call a number with an 876 prefix.

Officer Kelly Kershaw said a man stopped by the Tisbury police station Sunday to report that someone called and told him he won a large sum of money. The caller said if he didn’t believe it, he could phone the U.S. Marshall’s office in New Bedford and gave him a number.

Instead, the man brought the phone number to Ms. Kershaw, who did a Google search to check it.

“He was given a number, but it’s a 1-876 number, which is a scam,” Officer Kershaw said. “It’s actually a Jamaican exchange. It’s a third-party billing situation, almost like a 1-900 number, so the minutes are billed to the caller. When someone calls the number, the scam is to keep the person on the line and run up the charges.”

Callers are not told that international rates and charges apply.

“Even though it may look like a toll-free 1-800 number, any number that starts with an 876 or an unfamiliar area code, don’t call back,” Officer Kershaw advised.

She planned to report the scam to the State Attorney General’s office on Monday.

“I wanted to let Islanders know, because in our experience, once one person gets a call like this, we get hit by a rash of them,” Officer Kershaw said.