(52 votes)

Collect Call from Prison

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How the scam works:

(with video below) If you ever receive a phone call from your local prison on your house phone and the operator tells you to press 1 to receive a collect call, don’t accept it (unless your buddy is arrested on a regular basis and you know he always calls). Many victims accept these collect calls because they don’t know who might be on the other side.

How does this scam work? Whenever allowed to make phone calls, real inmates dial random numbers until they find somebody willing to help. As soon as the victims answer, the scammer comes in with a quick apology for disturbing them followed by an emotional short story, such as being thrown in jail because he beat up a guy who assaulted his daughter, an hour ago.

The prisoner will ask the victim to call a number where supposedly his daughter is, to make sure she is ok. He will say that the number is impossible to reach from the prison he is in, or that they are not allowed to call cell phones. People fall for this scam as they think they are doing a good deed.

In reality, what victims do when dialing the number provided is just… call-forwarding their own telephone lines. This way, after getting you to forward the number, the scammer can call anywhere he wants, without being charged.

In a different variation of the scam, the callers cannot even be jail mates. They could be regular scammers trying to make phone calls on your dime. For example, they would pick names from the phone book with specific ethnicity and tell the operator they are part of their family.

Watch the video below to see in action the Collection Call Scam as exposed in the news.

Collection Call Scam in the News

How to avoid:

Check the forwarding code in your country and make sure you never use it when asked to by someone else. For example, in US the code to forward your number if you belong to the Verizon network is *72. To deactivate it, it is *73. Whether you are in Australia, the United Kingdom or Canada, always find out these numbers for your specific network!

Make your friends and family aware of this scam by sharing it, using the buttons provided.

There are 23 comments

  • On Thursday, April 09, 2015, BRITT wrote:


  • On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, tara wrote:

    Someone from St Louis county jail is calling.

  • On Monday, January 19, 2015, Chelle wrote:

    Omg! I keep getting a call from a Texas prison 713-489-7846 from a Robert Reynolds, this is no one I know. This isn't the first time either. I received a call from the some individual about a month or so ago. I have NEVER accepted and won't.

  • On Monday, January 19, 2015, kim wrote:

    All of this just for a free phone call? I keep getting calls today from a prison phone service and the woman leaving her name as the inmate is using my last name (to pretend to be a distant family member I presume).

    I knew it was false because she mispronounced my last name as nearly everyone does. But it gave me pause when I first heard it anyway, this is an awful scam. These people belong in jail by gosh... haha!!

  • On Thursday, November 13, 2014, James Brown wrote:

    You just need to accept the call... And then say "No thanks". Any respectable inmate will not call back

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