The *72 scam

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).

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56 Responses to The *72 scam

  1. justin says:

    hey, the same thing happened to me…. i didn’t put the *72…but i dial the number without it….do we still get charges..i dont think so…b-cuz the *72 is the fowarding thing, and i didn’t press it..im seriously freakin out, cuz im only 15…plz comment

    • Chelsea Tyler says:

      So this just happened to me but when I called the number without the “*72*” a woman answered. The number was 832-229-2986. After googling the number it came back as a number from Houston, Texas. I live in Tyler, Texas. This makes me wonder if I should call Harris County Jail and let them know what is going on. Feedback?

      • Libby Bryer says:

        This is a scam piggybacked onto the Star 72 scam…..I received a call yesterday from someone who claimed to be an officer at the Harris County Jail in Houston. He advised me to call a Cheryl Williams at an (832) number and press *72 to get my name off a scam list. After that initial call, I have received over 50 recordings, telling me that *72 is a scam and that I should press another number to get my name off the list. Well, heck, I didn’t do that, but I have called AT&T, the jail, the City of Austin to no avail. No one can stop this hacker, which is what it has to be since all the phone numbers (and they all show up) begin with (713) 507- and only the last four numbers change…and guess what, they are all disconnected numbers. I am currently researching if those disconnected numbers are actually the numbers that inmates use in Houston, but even then, the problem is within A T & T’s system and they are responsible for getting rid of this. I will not rest until someone there at A T & T resolves this. I should not have to change my phone number because of a problem that is coming from the phone company itself. If any of you are getting these recordings like I am, please tell me what you know.
        This stinks!

      • Blessedx4inTX says:

        This just happened to us tonight and I went on a Google search to figure out what was up! I didn’t even let the answering machine finish with the entire msg before stopping it, but it really aggravates me. Thanks for posting, though! At least I know what’s going on, and will report to the authorities…not that they’ll do much.😛

  2. radial says:

    That’s the same thing I did — I dialed the number without the *72, just to check out what the number was. As long as you didn’t dial *72 first you’re OK.

  3. texas says:

    its 11:30 at night and i just got the same thing. i live in the houston, tx area. i tryed the # with out the *72 and got some lame excuse for a voicemail

  4. Miss Gee says:

    If you do call and press *72 to cancel it ou press *73 and hang up!!! I just got scanned too and I stay in Houston TX. freakin low life jail scum. I found this link online it been going on since 2005
    http://www.sptimes.com/2005/02/22/State/Phone_call_from_jail_.shtml

  5. SusieQ says:

    The same thing happened to me at 5:30 this morning! First off, the collect call was in spanish, so I did not understand a thing! When it finally went through, someone impersonnated an Illinois State Police Officer, and said that someone in our family was involved in a tragic accident and that we needed to come to the hospital to identify the body! We were supposed to call another number to get the info. Luckily, we stopped the call forwarding right after we activated it! People are ridiculous!

  6. Hook Em 58 says:

    Well I’ll be….. I got a call from some idiot saying that he had been arrested after being in an accident & needed me to contact his Mom at an area hospital so that she could arrange bail for him. I knew that something was afoul here. The joke ended up being on the idiot because I dont have the *72 feature on my phone. I was promptly hung up on & I haven’t heard from him since. Don’t fall for this con. Just hang up or ask which jail they are in & contact the Department.

  7. winifred says:

    I just got the same call. I knew about the scam in advance, so didn’t accept the collect charges. I figure anyone who calls me collect knows to do it person-to-person so there’s a name attached.

  8. robert says:

    just happened to me. and i answered like 4 times

  9. lauren says:

    just got a call and the caller id said “Prison”. I saw this on my caller ID a week ago and thought “hmm”. Today, I took the call. The caller said he was “Lt. Smith” and he told me that two civilians were in a car accident trying to contact me and and to call another policeman with the *72 + a phone number. My bullshit sensor was screaming so I told him that I would do that. Then I looked it up on the internet. He just tried calling again and I told him to take my number off the list and that they were full of shit. Thanks for the info!

  10. richard says:

    jan 13,2008 can’t you just pick up your phone and dial *73 to turn it off?

  11. Kathy says:

    March 2, 2008 Houston Tx Just got a call from Harris County Jail. Same thing. Call number using *72. Was suspicious so I ask my husband what to do. We looked it up on google and found this site. Meanwhile called att and was told it is a scam. Then the phone rang again and again from the jail. Will report this on Monday to att business office. Just dodged a bullet, thank God.

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  13. nina says:

    yes you can take it off…………. however… only if and when you realize you have been scdammed….. that could be days… even ONE day coudl result in thousands of dollars in long distance phone charges charged you “your phone number”

  14. BMS says:

    Just happened to us too. So glad I looked it up! We have dialed the *73 to cancel out the call forwarding. So hopefully no calls were made in the 2 minutes it took to look up the *72. Thank you so much!!

  15. roxymusic says:

    just a call also. I hung up several times because it started out in Spanish so i figure it was a wrong number….i finally pressed “0” to get someone in English who told me that I was an emergency contact for someone who was just in a car accident. To find out the name, I had to call Sgt Hill at a *72 number. The whole thing did not make any sense, so I found this article on the internet. Thank goodness!

    How do I get them to stop calling me??!!

  16. shar says:

    My fiance got a call today from someone claiming to be an Illinois state police officer, telling him that two people were in a horrible accident and they couldn’t identify them because the driver had no license on them. He said he got our number from the ‘victim’s’ cell phone. My fiance is way too trusting and took down the numbers given and called this other ‘officer’ for more info. He ended up forwarding our phone for about 15 minutes. I called my mother and she found this info on the internet, so I quickly disabled the call forwarding. The original call came up as ‘prison’ and they tried calling 4 times, but my fiance kept hanging up because it was a recording in Spanish, which we don’t speak. He got aggravated and called the number back and got a live person after pressing zero. I heard him talking and I kept asking what was going on. I told him something sounds weird. If someone was in a terrible accident, why the heck would we get a call from one officer and be told to call another? Anyway, I couldn’t stop him because he thought it was someone that he works with-an immigrant who speaks Spanish who he likes very much, that got in into an accident or something. The number he was told to call after dialing *72 was a 312 area code and I did a search and it came up as a T-Mobile unlisted cell phone number. I did contact the phone company right away and they told me if the ‘prison’ number calls again to dial *57 after the ringing stops. This puts a trace on the number and gets sent to the police. I don’t know what good it will do, considering there’s a million people using the pay phones a these low security prisons. The article I read said most of the ones in Chicago are coming from the 26th and California jail. We live in the suburbs right outside of Chicago. I guess they just go thru the phone book and scam whoever they can. It’s very clever. I’m glad I caught it quickly.

  17. Rebecca says:

    Hey, Glad I googled before calling any numbers. Felt like a scam. But he told me to call the number and talk to the Sgt. so I would not be charged for the collect call.

  18. Courtney says:

    The same thing happened to me today, but when he said *72 in front of the number, I thought it was strange. So when I called his sister I didn’t dial *72, I relayed the message really quick and hung up the phone. I’m glad to hear that I’m ok as long as I didn’t dial *72. It just makes me sick that people take advantage of others good nature. You try to do someone a favor and they treat you like that. Those people deserve to be in jail and it’s people like that that give others reason not to trust. This is why people have no manners or since of kindness anymore.

  19. Will says:

    This just happened to my wife today an being the kind hearted person that she is she believed the guy luckily I trust no one and when she told me what happened and said she had to dial the extention *72 in front of the number I immediately got on the internet and googled *72 and it brought me to this site. Thanks to who ever started this site.

  20. John says:

    A friend of mine called me early this morning and had just received a call from the Dallas County Jail with the exact same scenario. He was curious about the whole scheme because he knows me and we have talked about this stuff before.

    Here’s the facts, Jack, on the technical and financial reasons this stuff is repeated every day from our secure Texas penal system…

    *72 and *73 are standard telephone company features for activating Call Forwarding and deactivating Call Forwarding. It was developed when TouchTone first came out in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. You only have these features on your home or business telephone, if you pay for them.

    I was in the inmate telephone business and watched these inmates do this and a thousand other scams on the public, in order to call someone they shouldn’t or couldn’t from jail or prison.

    Typically, Dallas County Jail doesn’t assign a PIN number to every inmate because of the hastle of doing it, so inmates just start calling anybody they can to sweet talk them into helping them reach someone they can’t. Does the jail care. Well, they make $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 a year from these calls. Would you really care?

    AT&T or the prime contractor bills these calls locally at $3.50 for the first minute and about $0.30 a minute up to the maximum call length of 15 minutes. So a 15 minute local call closts about $7.50. The jail gets 50-60% of this as a commission from AT&T because the let the contract and want to share in the profit. With about 6,500 inmates in jail, and the average calls per day is about one call a day per inmate. Some inmates make 20 calls a day trying these scams, some make none. But given this, not including calls to somewhere else in Texas or out of state, which are double the cost and more, one can calculate the huge profit the jail gets from the inmate telephones.

    What can you do as a citizen who gets these random calls? Absolutely Nothing. Nobody cares. These calls are important to “REHABILITATE” the convicts. Yeah right!

    My friend called the jail and talked to Scott who is in charge of handling these complaints and for removing the charge from my friends telephone bill. I wonder how many calls Scott gets about these type of calls every year?

    “””””Money talks and &#$@* walks! “”””” Isn’t that the Texas way?

  21. Autri says:

    Can somebody please explain how this could possibly work? I use *72 and *73 all the time, and have for years. I may transfer my business phone to my home phone, or my home phone to my cell phone, etc. As far as I understand, that has always enabled me to ANSWER the transferred number; however, I don’t see how anyone could DIAL OUT on the number it was transferred to. If I transfer my business phone to my home phone, when I dial out on my home phone, I am dialing out on my home phone number, NOT the number that was transferred to it. Sorry, but I am confused on how this could possibly work where it could result in long distance charges.

  22. George says:

    I just received a call from a scammer claiming to have been arrested and detained in the Dallas County Jail. Thank goodness for the internet and this posting. Just dialed *73 to disable call forwarding.

  23. Ulrike says:

    I just got the same call. I am from Houston TX. Mine stated that I needed to speak to a Sgt. Davis that there had been an emergency w/an inmate. I got worried I do not know anybody in jail. And then I thought well they stated it was an emergency I better call. My home phone was dying so I called from my cell. And I called the number without the *72 it was some woman, she stated that I have the wrong number. So I am not up with all the technology figured that I better put the *72 in front. Well it beaped 2 times and I thought “What did I just do??” I came here and found this site, because my cell is now forwared to this number! Well, I tried the *73 as you stated here and tried to call from my house phone to my cell guess who I got the lady I talked to her for minute and she stated that she has no clue who it is that they have been doing it to her all week she just moved here. I told her that I am a single mother and I have enough paying for me and my son to have some low rent piece of trash to steal from me from jail! And then preceded to tell her that my phone is forwarded to hers and *73 is not working .. Well to my amazment she knew exactly how to get my phone off of forward! *720 for some cell providers. If anything I got to call them low rent to their face and let her know I am turning them in! I hope I can…He has called back 3 times since I have been typing this! I will be sure to do an e-mail when I am done here and try to reach as many people as possilbe.

  24. Ulrike says:

    Autri to answer your question is that the number that is call gets billed the long distant charge. So in other words you forward your phone to your cell the inmate dials your numer and your phone forwards it to your cell they ok the charges and you get billed and they do not.

  25. Ulrike says:

    Duhh and the collect call recording tells you not to do the feature and it could result in thousands of dollars!! Wow, HE is still calling 7th time!

  26. Joe says:

    HELP!!!!
    I FELL FOR IT!!!!!
    okay, i’m okay….

    he said dial *72 then dial 469-360-0620
    so i tried without *72… it didn’t work. so then, i tried with *72. it just gave me a busy signal, so i hung up.

    i should have done my research BEFORE i dialed the number! but now, i fell for it, WHAT DO I DO????

  27. radial says:

    Normally you just press *73 on your phone to cancel any active call forwarding.

  28. Jinny says:

    It happend to me too- This guy asked me to call his sister b/c they were at the Dallas County Jail since he was arrested- and I fell for it too! I called AT&T and we don’t have the feature- thank God! But he keeps calling- A HOLES!

  29. QueenB03 says:

    My Husband and I just received a call from the Dallas County jail from a inmate in there and the inmate asked us if we could call his wife and let her knwo that he just went to jail and he started talking about how much his bail was and where he was located and giving us the “Dallas County Jail” address which he said was 1100 Lamar Street in Dallas, Tx my husband felt bad for him because he has been in that type of situation before where he could not get ahold of his mother and so he was just trying to be kinda and help him out turns out he gave us this number that started with *72 and then the number so we figured the *72 meant it was to unblock our number when we called his wife for him. So my husband called and it went to vmail so he left this “Veronica” lady a messgage letting her know her husband was in jail and giving her the info he had asked to give her. So as we waited for a call bk the phone would ring twice and when we answered it would just be a dial tone this kept on happening about every 2mins. So I decided to look on google and type in the *72 and this forum came up. After we learned how to undo the call forwarding numerous amount of calls started comming in from the Dallas County Jail stating that they needed us to answer because it was urgent and thats when we had to call our phone company to take car of the problem. Luckily our service provider changed the number right away and waived the charges that they have made so far. My Husband and I would just like to say thank you for posting this website for people to see incase they run into a problem like this because we had no idea how to use call forwarding or even knew that we had it on our telephone until now. Thank you again for everyones help.

  30. C-burg says:

    This JUST happened to me. The guy called with the exact same scenario as the post…said he only got one phone call, and told me his wife worked at Parkland, and *72 was her extension..and to be sure to dial that first. The number he gave was 214-407-2784..said he was David Jackson. He proceeded to call about 10 times. I waited until my husband got home from work, so he could handle it. My husband told him we know that hes trying a scam, and the sweet talking needy guy on the phone started cussing my husband out. I was nervous to get rude, because I didnt want anyone coming to my house after looking for me.

  31. Jail Scam says:

    Ok,,,I live in Houston and just received a call from Harris County Jail. The call came from an “officer” who was calling to inform us that one of our family member’s was being held at the Harris County Jail and for more info on the name of the relative I needed to call *72 281xxx-xxxx. Well I called the phone # that the “officer” gave me without the *72 since I already knew that by dialing *72 I would call forward all of my calls to the phone # that was dialed after the *72. Well a very nice lady answered the phone and informed me that she had a relative in jail who had been calling people at random and giving them the same story, apparently this is a very common thing happening in jails now days. What the inmates are doing is calling random phone number’s in hopes that someone will actually forward there calls to their friends phone # (the # you dialed after the *72), then after hanging up with you they will call your phone # right back and by this time since you just forwarder your phone to their friends phone, their friend will answer, accept the collect call from prison and you get charged the $4 fee. Not cool….If you think about it they can charge hundreds of dollars in calls to unsuspecting people and talk to all of their friends over the course of time they spend in jail. Not cool at all is it

  32. jeanine says:

    This just happened to me in Atlanta, GA what a scam, I didnt do it though. I took the numbers and I hung up the phone. here is the numbers. 678-698-7362 and 404-287-8841. Everyone needs to call these numbers and run up there phone bills.

    Tia Lawrence is the name that I was given. May these people Rot in hell.

    You can block calls from these facilities. follow the directions when they are prompting you for your response.

  33. Laura says:

    The same thing just happened to me, but I dialed the phone number first, and the guy said he didn’t know anyone by that name, but by the sound of him he probably did. Then I looked up the hospital number, trying to be a good Samaritan, having been told that a child was involved, trying to reach the grandmother. The operator at the hospital told me about the scam, and said they get calls all the time. I only took the call because I saw “tarrant county jail” and couldn’t understand who the call was supposed to be from, as I didn’t understand the name. I’m not sure, however, why anyone would willingly dial *72 BEFORE a regular number. I didn’t, and it saved me!
    I thought phones had to be equipped with call forwarding before this would work. Surely the phones at jails aren’t equipped for this, and if they are, then they need to fix it!

  34. W Fort Worth says:

    10:25 PM !!!!! Wife and Kids are asleep… RING<RING<RING!!!!!!
    OH, Tarrant County Jail. Guy sounds like the next door kid. Well it wasn’t. He said his name is Jr, his 2 year old daughter is with him and he got locked up.
    Call*72.817.448.1183.
    I am posting the number. I called them and asked them about their friend calling people late at night trying to scam. They hung up!!
    Please just follow the directions that are given by the recording. If you do not know who the person is DO NOT ACCEPT the CHARGES!!!!

  35. houston says:

    Last night my phone rang and noticed it said pay phone on my caller ID. so i decided to answer and this operator said i had a call from the harris county jail and there was an inmate and if i accepted the call which i didnt . then few minutes later the phone rang again and it was the same thing so i got this guilt feeling that it may be someone i know or my huband’s friend so accepted.. So the call was transfered and this mexican guy stated he was officer Roberts and there was an inmate by the name of sucha nd such and I was like I dont know that person.. and he continued by adding tghat in order for me not to be charged through my phone company to dial *72-713******and ask to speak to such and such what ever. so i dialed it and this little girl answered and i asked for that woman I was suppose to speak to to remove the charges and they told me I had the wrong number. Then I got suspicious and the weird thingafter that my phone rang few times that night but it only rang once . till this morning at 11 am when i got this gut feeling this was not making sence so i searched for star 72 and that when i read in this website that its a freaking scam . I called my phone company and told them my inccident and they told me when i recieve my phone bill to call them if i have any long distance charges. i search the website on houston white pages and search for the number that dumb retard gave to me to dial and the name and adress pulled out so i saved it just in case cause i know that inmate did call this number the since last night till this morning when i realized it was a scam .thank god it was local number he gave me.. . since i dialed *73 to remove the call forwarding to taht number my phone has been ringing like crazy i wrote down all the numbers hopefully it will help Do you thing it will help if i save those numbers they keep calling from? I was so pissed off because of this retard ihad a huge fight with my husband. comment back

  36. kellee says:

    I had “Josh Norwood” call from 817-850-7176-Tarrant County Jail. He said he had my husband’s card from doing landscape work in our zip code – neighborhood. I told him that neither he OR his company, “Last Chance Landscape” have been to our home. He said he was in jail and needed me to call his wife to pick up their 9 week old as he had a dental appt. a 9 week old at the dentist?? I became QUITE suspicious. I toild him that we did not know him or his company. He wanted me to call his wife “Kelly Norwood” at her work and dial 682-234-0027 *72. He was insistant that I dial the *72. I told him this was a scam and hung up. I accepted the FIRST collect call. He called back after about 5 mins and I hung up the phone. I am freaked, as he had husband’s name, our address and he got somewhat panicked. I am calling ATT and Ft Worth PD to report this.

    I DID NOT call *72 – do not do it either

  37. senior says:

    I don’t know why I even accepted the collect call in the first place. I saw “prison” on my caller i.d. and said WTF…before I called *72 I googled it and I found this website. Thanks for the heads-up.

  38. Camille says:

    Hello, I write for my high school’s newspaper and we’re doing a story on this continuous problem with phone scams. If anyone could possibly answer a few questions to quote in the story it would be great. I could do it through email. It would help a great deal and also get the word out so that maybe this scam will stop hurting the public.

    My email is learn2love2010@aol.com and if anyone has personally experienced a scammed phone call just email me and then I could just send you back a few questions to answer.

    Thank you, Camille

  39. Mark says:

    Well, I fell for it.
    It all sounded funny,
    Called the phone company right away.
    They told me to hang up. Dial 73#
    Then they told me if I have any odd billing on my phone bill, to call them. They would fix it.
    Remember. To stop it. Dial 73#

  40. Houston says:

    I got the call this morning. It was exactly like the “Houston” call above. An “officer” calling to see if I knew someoene because they were locked up in jail. I say no, then he proceeds to give me a *72 number to call to get the charges removed. The recording at the beginning of the call says not to dial a *72 number in the first place, so I play along, take down the number and google the scam. Glad I didn’t do it and glad that site like these are around to inform and you can read other people’s experiences with things like this.

    I was wondering how he picked my number though. But it looks like it is completely random.

  41. Didn't fall for it says:

    I just got a call from Jason, (I don’t have caller ID) who said he had been picked up for a warrant while he was going to the store. He wanted me to call his wife or his mother to come pick up his kids who had been taken by the police. He had only one phone call and my number happened to be the number in his cell phone and the police gave it to him to call. He said he could give me his wife’s number at work and he could give me the direct extension. The number was 972-201-4547, and to get her direct extension I had to dial *72 before the number. I didn’t fall off the ‘turnip truck’.

  42. Mark says:

    The jailhouse scammer called me this morning. Claimed that our last names were identical, and was trying to reach his uncle, who had the same name as me. Then he gave me the sob story about needing to call his wife to get the kids. I Googled *72 and found this, which confirmed my suspicions. The Tarrant County Jail told me there was nothing they could do except revamp the recording to warn people not to dial *72. At the very least, they could point the cameras at the pay phones.

  43. Kathaleen says:

    I just got the same thing from the “Tarrant Co Jail” and was suspicious and looked up star 72 and found this blog. The # they told me to call was 817-721-1167. He said his mom Kathy was at that number at a medical center and that his name was Jason and I could ask his mom to call his friend Chris because that is where his daughter was. He said he was on his way home from Oakland.

    Glad I checked it out! Warn your friends!

    Make the day great!

  44. Rachel Mayo says:

    This just happened to me! I got a call, my caller ID said it was the Tarrant Co. Jail, and so my dad said to pick it up. The guy I talked to said his name was Jason and that he was trying to reach Karen. I told him he had a wrong number. He asked if the this number was 817-xxx-xxxx (which it was). He said he’d gotten pulled over today and that his daughter needed to be picked up. He asked if I could please call his mother Kassy at the medical center and relay the message where his daughter was. He gave me the phone number to call and said that I needed to put *72 in front of the area code because of the weird phone system the medical center had.

    Of course being the idiot I am I tried calling the number with AND without the *72 but neither # was accurate. I decided to google what *72 meant and THANK GOD I found this site! I dialed *73 asap and hopefully that’ll be the end of that. Thanks so much guys!

  45. Stephanie says:

    I received a call yesterday at my office. Stupid me! I should not have accepted the call, but… I did.
    It was also a jail and a person looking for his attorney. I said this is not an attorney’s office. Then another man got on the phone and said he was the deputy. The “deputy” gave me his name and “badge number” and said that this number is in the database and needed to be removed and the collect call charges would be dropped from my phone if I called this number. HOWEVER, he told me to use *721 as an extension, not to use it BEFORE the number…. So I am a bit confused. I tried to look up the number on Google, and nothing showed up.
    I sure hope my company does not get the collect call charge. EEK!

  46. KMcClos says:

    I just got one of these calls this morning from Harris County Jail and someone posing as a deputy asking me if i knew an inmate that was trying to call us. I told him no – and he directed me to call *72-1-832-329-4637 to get the charges removed. he told me to speak to Sherry Williams and tell them that I spoke to Deputy Garcia – Badge # 1143. Of course, I hung up at the end and got right on the internet to find out what the heck this was! I keep getting the calls from the jail – they won’t stop calling! And now I’m getting really annoyed! When is this idiot going to figure out – I’m not going to forward my number….so stop calling here! I’m already ticked off that I’m going to have to pay the darn collect call fee for accepting it – which I wouldn’t have accepted if there was a name in the message that plays when they say an inmate is calling! You don’t know if it’s a family member – because you have to accept the call to find out who is calling….and that really ticks me off! I think it should be a law that the jail must have the name stated in the message before you accept the collect call – so you can screen whether you should accept this call or not! I hate the fact that these people are behind bars and are still able to commit crimes on innocent people. It’s ridiculous! Please spread the word – so we can help stop as many of these criminals as possible! Jails should not be able to let these inmates do this to people…they can help stop it by making the inmate state his name in the call before it is accepted!!

  47. Nick says:

    I received one of these calls today from the Harris Co. jail. The guy said he was Officer Robert Jackson and they picked up some girl who didn’t have her identification and she refused to ID herself. He then told me I would need to call a Sergeant Lewis and if I didn’t know her the charges would be removed from my phone. At first, I couldn’t understand why he wanted me to dial *721 first and when I asked him if this was an extension he was kind of agitated and told me that I needed to dial that first to reach the Sarge. He gave me a badge number, case number, etc. and had me repeat all of this back to him. In my haste and being distracted by the Texans, I proceeded like an idiot to do exactly what he asked me to do. Gosh, I feel so stupid and only after I dialed the number did my common sense return to google what just happened and find out how to undo my foolishness. Hopefully, *73 worked. The sad thing is I get these calls all of the time and usually ignore them but I guess I just thought it might be someone I knew this time and that’s why I answered. Anyways, I’m still ticked at myself for falling for the scam when I should’ve known better.

  48. Spamanella says:

    Got a collect call from a Chicago IL Prison. The call was being made by an inmate.

    -The operator specifically tells you to not call *72 and *11 numbers.

    -Also, if it’s an emergency, a Sheriff’s Dpt. would call and not an inmate.

    I accepted the collect call since coincidentally, I had a friend recently go to Chicago for boot camp in the Navy. I thought for some outlandish reason he could have been sent to jail. Who knows? So I accept the collect call in case it’s an emergency. Collect call charges are nothing if it’s to make sure it’s not an emergency.

    The story the inmate gave me, who wasn’t my navy friend, was that a girl got into a car accident and my number was listed as an emergency number. He then went on to tell me to call the *72 scam number and to ask for Sgt. Wilson. This all sounded suspicious since I’m a hermit who doesn’t know a girl in San Bernardino, CA. I ask for her name. He told me he was a 911 dispatcher or something like that and only patches numbers. I told him I’d call the number and got him to hang up.

    I didn’t call. Made sure my family didn’t know a girl in San Bernardino and left that number as that. The inmate then repeatedly tried to call my house. I looked up the *72 number and found this forum. I also found a newspaper article that said Florida had a boom in this scam.

    I accepted the collect call a second time. Tried my best to be polite to the inmate and told him I didn’t call the number. He STILL tried to trick me. I had a pleasant conversation with him for a couple minutes. I got tired of the conversation and thought of charges to my phone bill so I said adios and hung up.

    If it weren’t for my friend being sent to Chicago for boot camp, I wouldn’t had gone as far as accepting the collect call.

    Hope my post helps someone in the future with the same problem~.

  49. syzygm says:

    Lol my mom called me earlier today to ensure I wasent in jail in Texas! She said she received a strange collect call from a prison and she just hung up and then called me to make sure it wasent me! I said No and Im glad because she probably woulda hung up on me! Then I found this online! I wonder if this was the type of call she was getting. I wish I would get one because I would take down the # and then ask how long are you going to be in prison! dont worry Im gonna call your girl for you! ;D

  50. Michelle says:

    Received the same call, but the story was different.
    After I accepted the collect call a guy came on saying he was an officer. Told me the inmate calling was a sex offender and provided my number as one of the allowed contact numbers. He is required to monitor all calls and wanted to know if I knew the offender or if I wanted to block the calls. I said block the calls and he told me to dial *7218323381430 to talk to somebody else that would stop the calls. I was busy and said okay I’ll call the sherrif’s department in the morning and he got agitated and told me no the only way it would stop is by dialing the number he gave me. I googled it before I did anything, so no charges, but the collect call. Now they keep calling. Called the phone company to have them blocked. The call was from Harris County which is about 5 hours away. Do they just call random numbers?

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  53. aces atworcco says:

    My Bell Telecom suggested aa *72 for recieving and relaying call to my Android. I called at least 7-8 times to a call center in timbuktu. They hung up on me several times. This is getting weirm,I have not been able to use my homephone for over 2 months. A situation they do not want to give me an adjustment for,seems fair enough to adjust my bill. Instead they persist that to have Android I need to keep my homephone,that does not work. It is virused by a 1-2 ring hangup. This is an obvious way for unknowns to have free phone time,at my data expense. aHow I used over 1800 minutes is beyond me? I rarely ever use my Android or my homephone,I have a cloaked Auxilliory simple Cell that I use for calls. They don’t worry about the 1800 minutes because of free unlimited calls,yea then tell me about the data overage these ghost minutes cause. Stupid as hell…aces atworcco

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