Internet, Networking, & Security Antivirus 754 754 people found this article helpful The Area Code 833 Scam: What It Is and How to Protect Yourself From It Don't fall victim to the persistent area code 833 telephone scammers by Brad Stephenson Freelance Contributor Brad Stephenson is a freelance tech and geek culture writer with 12+ years' experience. He writes about Windows 10, Xbox One, and cryptocurrency. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Brad Stephenson Updated on July 23, 2020 reviewed by Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Michelle Adeola Adelufosi is a marketing consultant with 9 years' experience working for a variety of clients. Her expertise includes social media, web development, and graphic design. our review board Article reviewed on Sep 11, 2020 Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Antivirus Phone & Texting Scams Online Scams Social Media Scams Email Scams Tweet Share Email Phone numbers with the 833 area code are toll-free numbers that can be easily registered by individuals and businesses for a relatively small fee and are frequently used in phone scams relating to fake tech support and IRS payments. Where is area code 833 supposed to be? Well, it’s actually one of several different phone numbers in the United States that aren’t connected to any particular geographical location. This ambiguous nature of the 833 area code is one of the main reasons that it’s so popular with phone scammers as most people will have no idea where the scam call is coming from and are more likely to answer it out of curiosity. What Is the 833 Area Code Scam? 833 area code phone numbers are used in a variety of scams ranging from fake computer and smartphone tech support to IRS fraud and bank repayments cons. There is no one specific 833 phone number scam. FatCamera/E+/GettyImages How Does the Area Code 833 Scam Work? While the subject of 833 area code scam calls can vary, they usually follow the similar format of either a scammer calling up a victim from an 833 phone number or getting the victim to call the 833 number themselves by leaving a voice message, sending them an email, or advertising the 833 number in an online advertisement. 833 area code phone numbers are frequently used by malware. If you get a warning message on your computer that asks you to call an 833 number for tech support, it’s likely that your device has become compromised. Do not call this 833 number. Once the phone scammer makes contact with their target, from either being called or making the call themselves, they will attempt to get money, personal information, or access to a computer by pretending to be a government or company employee. How Do the 833 Area Code Scammers Find Victims? Area code 833 scammers who call their potential victims usually find their targets by collecting name and phone numbers from public online directories or social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Such scammers can also trick people into calling them by sending fake emails, text messages, or direct messages that look as if they’re sent from a legitimate company. Users can even be tricked into calling an 833 area code number by an online advertisement or a fake computer system message created by malware. How Do I Avoid Getting Involved in This Scam? The easiest way to avoid being scammed by an 833 area code phone scammer is simply to never call an 833 number or call one back. 833 is one of the area codes not to call back under any circumstance due to the high likelihood of 833 phone numbers being used in scam calls. If you get a phone call from an 833 number, never call it back via your phone’s automatic redial options. Instead, look up the official contact or support phone number for the company that apparently called you, manually enter that number into your phone, and call them to ask for clarification or confirmation on what the 833 call said. The same should be done if you’re ever prompted to call an 833 number from an email or other message. I’m Already a Victim. What Should I Do? If you’ve fallen victim to an internet scam or phone scam, there are a number of things that you should do depending on what kind of scam the scammer was running. If you’ve been tricked into installing a program on your device, you should uninstall it immediately, perform a software update on your computer or phone, and run a good virus scanner to be sure you haven't missed anything. You’ll also need to change the password for every service or device that uses the password that you gave the scammer. No matter what kind of phone scam you’ve become involved with, you should always report the scammers to the appropriate parties to help prevent them from scamming others in the future. Those that have sent money to someone after falling victim to an area code 833 phone scam should contact their bank and credit card company immediately to help secure their accounts and reverse any transactions that have been made. Money sent via a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin will unfortunately be lost forever but some PayPal transactions can be cancelled if you act quickly. How Do I Avoid Being Targeted for the 833 Phone Scam? To help prevent yourself from falling victim to an 833 phone scam, it’s important to be always suspicious of any communications instructing you to call a phone number to resolve an issue or to get specialized support. Only call a phone number if it’s listed on a company or organization’s official website and take precautions when navigating to a site from a search engine or an email as some messages may have links to fake websites that can be used to scam you further. Always make sure that your smartphone, tablet, and computer have the latest operating system and app updates installed. This can help protect you against viruses and malware that could trick you or family members into calling an 833 phone number. Also, be careful about where you post your phone number and other contact information online. You may want to set your social media accounts, such as Facebook, to private.