March 18, 2011 > *72 Phone Scam
*72 Phone Scam
Fremont Police would like to share an important alert from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department about a telephone scam used by inmates and others - Don't fall for this (*72)
Submitted By Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD
Members of the public are being tricked by jail inmates and others through a telephone scam. The pattern was noticed by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who have been receiving an increasing number of phone calls from people who have been scammed.
It starts when scammers call you pretending to be with the police or sheriff's department, public safety agencies, or hospitals. They may make up a story about your child or other loved one being hurt in an accident. They then tell you to call the officer at the scene of the accident by dialing *72 and a phone number they provide you. Police advise not to call the number.
By dialing *72 at the beginning of a call, you will activate call forwarding, if you subscribe to it, all calls to your phone number will be forwarded to the phone number that the scammers gave you. When that happens, you may be billed each time a call is forwarded to the other number. You may also be billed long distance charges, including collect call charges if applicable.
By getting you to activate your call forwarding feature and providing you with a number (it could be to an expensive pay-per-call service, the East Coast, etc.), scammers can then call that number by dialing your phone number and you will be billed the additional charges. Don't let this happen to you.
Calls will continue to forward until you turn off the call forwarding feature. In some cases *73 turns off call forwarding, but that may vary depending on which phone company and the type of call forwarding service you subscribe to. You may have call forwarding as a feature of your landline or wireless service. If you are unsure if you have it, ask your phone company. Also not all call forwarding is activated by *72. If you have call forwarding, find out how to use it, as well as all your other services.
If this happens to you, call your phone company to dispute the charges and report it to the California Public Utilities Commission's consumer hotline at 800-649-7570.