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Inmates In Your Phone: *72 Prison Scam Is Forwarding Calls

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Forward thinking inmates have been running a *72 telephone scam that tricks a victim into unwittingly forwarding calls from their number resulting in collect fees and other charges, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department press release.

The con goes something like this: Unsuspecting human receives a phone call from a person claiming to be a deputy. Impostor deputy tells unsuspecting human that a family member was in an accident or in jail and that they were named as the emergency contact. Unsuspecting human is instructed to call a number that begins with *72 (Example: *72-323-555-1212) to get more information about the incident. When they call, they are told they have a wrong number.

"Since the victim caller used the prefix *72 to initiate their last phone call, they have just automatically forwarded all their incoming calls to the scammer's phone number (These include collect calls from inmates who want to avoid paying for collect calls). The billing for these forwarded calls goes to the victim caller until they turn off call forwarding on their phone (usually by dialing *73)," notes the LASD.