How the Scam Works:
You receive a collect call and accept the charges. When caller comes on the line, it’s clear you don’t know him. But he begs you not to hang up. He claims that he has been arrested for a minor violation and is trying to reach his family. Unfortunately, he’s dialed the wrong number and will only be allowed one phone call.
The caller asks you to help him by forwarding his call. He instructs you to dial *72 and the phone number he needs to reach. You dial the numbers, thinking you are doing him a small favor. But you really just allowed the scammer to bill unlimited collect phone calls to your account.
The *72 code causes all your subsequent incoming calls to be forwarded. The scammer can make collect calls to your number and have them automatically forwarded to the person he wants to reach. Even though you aren’t answering the calls, the charges will still be billed to your account. You may not realize this has happened until you receive your next phone bill.
The scam is most frequently used by inmates looking for a way to make “free” collect calls. But identity thieves can use this technique to “steal” your phone number. They set up your number to forward to themselves and answer when your bank calls to check up on suspicious charges/withdrawals.
How to Spot a Scam:
Protect yourself from call forwarding scams by following these tips:
- Place a collect call block on your account. If you don’t need to make or accept collect calls, telephone service providers often allow you to block them for free.
- If you receive unwanted calls from a nearby correctional facility, contact them directly and request that your number be blocked.
- Read your telephone bills carefully. Watch for any unusual charges.
- Pay attention to your phone’s ringing. If your phone frequently rings only once or is not ringing at all, this could be an indication that your line has been forwarded.
- If you believe your phone is being forwarded, dial *73 or #73 to deactivate the feature.
For More Information
To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.