PEOPLE have been warned not to fall foul of a telephone marketing scam that could cost thousands.

Police said scammers leave a polite voice message on the voicemail asking people to call them back, sometimes saying a family member is ill, has died or been arrested.

The number is prefixed with 0809, 0284 or 0876 but Tony Ford, from Blackburn Police, warned: “These numbers are registered in the Dominican Republic and are charged at £1,500 per minute to you.

“Because you actually made the call, both your local phone company and your long-distance carrier will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for the foreign company.

“You will end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong.”