“It’s back, so be cautious,” warns Ron Strecker, CEO of PTCI. “You could unintentionally become a victim in a costly long distance phone scam.” The telephone scam that began circulating in 1998 and cost people thousands of dollars is again making its way through the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. Often referred to as “Jailhouse Jingles”, this scam usually involves calls made by prison inmates in lower-security facilities with access to pay phones.
How it works. Someone calls you pretending to be a law enforcement officer, telephone worker, emergency room personnel, or just someone appealing to your sympathy because they’re having trouble reaching a family member. The caller asks you to dial *72, 72#, or 90#, which activates call forwarding and transfers control of your phone to the person on the other end. After you hang up, the caller continues to make long distance calls on your account. Since all calls from jails and prisons are collect, the charges that appear on your next phone bill could total hundreds of dollars.
It’s easy to avoid being a victim of this scam. Never dial *72 or any other call-forwarding number at the request of a stranger. If for some reason you do dial the call forwarding sequence, deactivate it by dialing *73 immediately.
Help fight telephone fraud. Report telephone scam artists to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) and to your state Attorney General.