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Fraud Center: Jailhouse Jingles Scam Alert

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Long Distance Phone Scam

The Scam:

You could unwittingly become part of an expensive long distance phone scam known as "Jailhouse Jingles" if you dial *72, 72#, or 90# at the request of someone who calls you pretending to be a phone worker, police officer, emergency room personnel, or who appeals to your sympathy because they're having trouble reaching someone.

How This Scam Works:

These number sequences activate call forwarding, transferring control of your phone to the person on the other end, and allowing the scam artist to continue to make long distance phone calls on your account after you hang up. Since all calls from jails and prisons are collect, the charges that appear on your next phone bill could total hundreds of dollars or more.

This scam is often called Jailhouse Jingles because the calls are usually made by prison inmates in lower-security facilities with access to pay phones. The inmate first calls an outside accomplice, who then initiates a three-way call to you, thereby preventing you from hearing the recording that precedes calls from correctional facilities, stating that the call is coming from a convict at a particular prison.

How This Scam Costs You Money:

When you receive your phone bill, it may contain charges for 900 "sex line" numbers or other calls at nearly $1 per minute.

How To Avoid Being a Victim of This Scam: It's easy to avoid being a victim of this scam. Never dial *72 or any other call-forwarding number at the request of a stranger. If for some reason you do dial the call-forwarding sequence, deactivate it by dialing *73 (on Verizon accounts).

How To Report This Scam:

Help fight telephone fraud. Report telephone scam artists to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) and to your state Attorney General.

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