Thursday, May 30, 2013

Operator Please Connect Me

The home phone rings.  You answer.  The caller says they’ve got the wrong number, but they need you help.  They give you an explanation that they are in jail on a minor offense and were trying to use their one phone call to reach family, but they accidentally misdialed and got you.  “Please,” they beg, “Don’t hang up, just transfer this call to my family.”  They tell you simply dial *72 and the “right” phone number.  That’s easy enough, right?  No harm and you’ve done a good deed for the day, right?  Wrong.

You’ve just helped another scammer.  The *72 code forwards all incoming calls after this one to another number.  Now that caller you helped can make collect calls on your phone line, as many and as long as they want and you won’t know about it until after you get your next phone bill.  Here’s a scenario that’s even worse, they some how got your bank or credit card information and have now made it so the banks calls of concern to you, go to them instead and they just approve away.

Her are a few tips from the Better Business Bureau that were worthy of sharing:

  • Place a collect call block on your account. If you don't need to make or accept collect calls, telephone service providers often allow you to block them for free.
  • If you receive unwanted calls from a nearby correctional facility, contact them directly and request that your number be blocked.
  • Read your telephone bills carefully. Watch for any unusual charges.
  • Pay attention to your phone's ringing. If your phone frequently rings only once or is not ringing at all, this could be an indication that your line has been forwarded.
  • If you believe your phone is being forwarded, dial *73 or #73 to deactivate the feature.
This is just another example of scams that are out there.  Make sure you share this with your loved ones, especially those who are kind of heart.  It’s not being cynical; it just making sure you’re one step ahead of the bad guys.