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 the 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!
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