.

Jail Inmate Phone Scam On the Rise

Residents should beware of dialing phone numbers that begin with *72 , say LA County Sheriffs.

The following information was taken from a press release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities warn not to be tricked by inmates and others asking you to call phone numbers starting with *72. 

The rising phone scam trend causes victims to be charged for jail inmates' collect calls, say Los Angeles County Sheriffs officials.

The scam begins by the victim receiving a call from a person claiming to be a deputy. This imposter tells the victims that one of their family members has been incarcerated or involved in an accident. The imposter then tells the unsuspecting victim that his or her family member provided the victim name to the caller as an emergency contact. 

The victim is then instructed to call a number that begins with *72 (Example: *72-323-555-1212) to get the information they will need. When the victim hangs up and dials the number provided, he or she is told they have a wrong number. 

Concerned for the safety of their family member, the victim usually then calls an information line (4-1-1) and asks for a number to the Sheriff's Department. They are then connected with a real deputy. 

This fraud has occurred off and on for many years in different parts of the country. This notice has been shared with the public by the LASD and the news media many times over the past few years. Each time it is shared, it results in a major decrease in victims and potential victims contacting the LASD. There has again been an increase in reports of this scam and we are asking you to forward this to your family, friends and colleagues to help them avoid it. 


The explanation follows, but the most important thing to know is that you should not call any phone number starting with *72 unless you want to forward all your calls to that phone number. 

Members of the public have been calling the Sheriff's Department and asking to talk to a specific deputy, detective, or sergeant who had just called them. The real deputy who answers the phone explains they are mistaken, as the named deputy does not exist or is not on duty. 

The scam begins by the victim caller receiving a call from a person claiming to be a deputy. This imposter tells the victim that one of their family member's has been incarcerated or involved in an accident. The imposter then informs the victim caller that their family member provided the victim caller's name as an emergency contact. 

The victim caller is then instructed to call a number that begins with *72 (Example: *72-323-555-1212) to get the information they will need. When the victim caller hangs up and dials the number provided, they are told they have a wrong number. 

However, since the victim 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 until call forwarding is then turned off --  (usually by dialing *73). 

If not careful, Victims can be scammed out of a lot of money in collect-call fees before they find this out. 

Concerned for the safety of their family member, the victim usually then calls an information line (4-1-1) and asks for a number to the Sheriff's Department. They are then connected with a real deputy. 

If you have been involved in this scam, and you have already dialed a number beginning with *72, contact your phone service provider to learn how to shut off automatic call forwarding. Also, report it to the California Public Utilities Commission’s consumer hotline at 800-649-7570.

Michael Dwells February 29, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Glad you brought this up. I've been reading a lot about this Jail Inmate Scam from the newspapers. In fact, I came by a complaint posted at http://www.callercenter.com about a similar scam when I reported a telemarketing phone number. But the reports didn't give much details about how this happens so I was a little confused. Well, this article cleared my doubts and I now have a better understanding of how it's done. And I know, I'll recognize this scam when I hear one.
Lucie December 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
This happen to me this morning! We were told to dial a number and speak to a sargent, But I didnt dial the x72 before dialing the number. the person we spoke to had n o idea what whas going on but she said she thought who it would be. she had already received a call earlier from someone else.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »