So yesterday I was sitting there when the phone rang. The caller ID said it was from a pay phone. I answered and a recorded voice told me that it was a collect call from an inmate at the Dallas County Jail. I figured it was a wrong number and hung up.
Then I started to feel guilty. What if it had been somebody I knew who had been arrested and needed to be bailed out? I was wishing I had accepted the charges after all. Then a few minutes later the phone rang and it was the collect call again. Now I figured it had to be somebody I knew and stayed on the line. There were about 2 minutes of instructions before the call started. Don’t use three-way calling or you’ll be disconnected. Don’t let them talk you into using calling features, especially *72. Some other stuff I don’t remember. After listening through all that I got to the actual call.
Turned out it was some guy asking for Chris or Krista, I’m not sure which. Either way it was a wrong number. I told the guy he had the wrong number and he needed to call somebody else. He asked if this was xxx-xxx-xxxx (my number) and I said yes. He said that Chris/Krista used to have this number but he hadn’t called them in a long time. My wife’s had this number for at least 8 years, so I should have started getting suspicious then.
When I told him that he needed to call somebody else, he gave me some sob story about how he had just been arrested and somebody needed to pick up his daughter before Child Protective Services did. Could I just call his wife/girlfriend (not sure which) and tell her to go to this address and pick her up. He gave me her name and his name. I told him several times that he needed to get somebody else but he kept pleading so finally I told him I’d do it just to get him off the phone.
That’s when things got a little odd (or odder). He gave me the contact information and put *72 in front of the phone number. When I read it back to him I left that off and he got a little agitated and made sure that I included the *72, claiming that I’d need that because his girlfriend/wife had call blocking.
By this point I was pretty suspicious. I tried to find out what *72 is, and it looks like it is call forwarding. So he wanted me to set my phone so it would forward to this number. While I was doing all this research, a friend of mine was using the phone. A call came in on the call waiting but he didn’t recognize what it was and let it go without answering it. I checked the caller ID and it turned out to be a call from the phone number the jail guy wanted me to forward my phone to. I called the number (without *72) and all I got was some poorly recorded rap music on an answering machine.
So at this point I figured I should call the jail and let them know what was going on. I tried one number but they weren’t any help. I tried another number and just by dumb luck it turned out to be a chief’s number and her assistant, a sheriff’s deputy, told me she’d look into the next steps and call me back. She seemed sincere and I think she really will call me back on Monday. We shall see.
Update one week later: The deputy from the jail called back and said there’s basically no way to track the caller. The name he gave was fake, and they don’t have any record of who called when or called what number. So I guess that’s the end of that. Hopefully the phone bill won’t show any funny business when I get it (other than a $3.84 collect call).