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Protect Yourself from Collect Call & Call Forwarding Scams
According to the Wikipedia, a Collect Call is a telephone call in which the calling party wants to place a call at the called party's expense. That sounds quite simple! Most of the telecom operators allow such billing, with the consent of the called party. The Collect Call feature has been built to help those who do not have access to own phones and need to use phones of others, to make calls. For example, people at a detention center, prison or a hospital. So how does this friendly feature turn into a scam?!
According to a recent release by the Consumer Fraud Report, a group of inmates in Florida prisons made over $50,000 worth of calls at the expense of unsuspecting residents!
Collect Call Scam - Billing at Premium Call Rate
The caller pretends to be an operator from a prison or a hospital and informs a relative needs you to accept a collect call, urgently. You are concerned about the situation and agree. So instead the “relative” using the facility for help & assistance, the scammer makes calls abroad or to premium rate numbers and you get billed.
Collect Call Scam – Identity Theft
The caller (usually some one sounding like a telephone operator) requests you to collect bill on behalf of someone known to you in a hospital emergency or prison. Once you agree to accept the charges, the operator would ask for credit card number / other details for the call to be billed. The caller then hangs up and uses the card info to charge your card for purchases.
Collect Call Scam - Call Forward
The caller pretends to be an operator from a prison or a hospital and informs a relative needs you to accept a collect call, urgently. Once you accept, the caller asks you to hang up and dial *72 followed by a number. What you have now done is to forward incoming calls to another number while billing remains with your account. This allows scammers to make a collect call to the victim’s number, which is then forwarded to the second number. International calls or calls to premium rate numbers (Sex Chat lines, Astrology Advice lines etc) are made and you get billed. You will be able to use your phone as usual and the underground activity goes unnoticed by you, till you receive an inflated bill.
How to avoid getting trapped by “Collect Call Scammers”
- Ask your telecom service provider to place a “Collect Call Block” on your number
- If you are not likely to use Call Forward feature, get it also blocked
- Make it a practice to read through your phone bills every month
- Unless you are absolutely certain that a relative is in fact in trouble, never agree to accept a “Collect Call”
- If your phone rings once and when you pick up the phone you hear dial tone, as usual, you need to be concerned! This is an indication of phone call being forwarded.
Report phone numbers requesting Collect Calls at Scamcallfighters.com
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