Tri-Staters warned of phone scam

Posted by Trina Kinstler - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Residents of Greater Cincinnati are advised to be on the alert for a telephone scam that enables the perpetrator to "hijack" the victim's phone line.

The scam begins with a message that a family member has been involved in an accident, and the person is given a phone number to call for more information.  The phone number begins with #72, *72 or 1172 followed by another phone number.  Those three prefixes activate the call forwarding feature and allow the scammer to use the victim's phone line for collect calls and third-party billing calls that the victim finds out about only when his phone bill arrives.

Various versions of this scam have been around for several years, but it recently resurfaced across the country.

Two people in Cincinnati and a third in Hamilton County received the calls this week.  In other areas, callers have posed as phone company technicians checking phone lines for problems; jail inmates who misdialed and need help contacting relatives because they can make only one phone call; or callers at a pay phone trying to make an emergency call.

Anyone who is asked to enter a strange code into the phone is advised to hang up.  Anyone who has been victimized by this scam is advised to report it to law enforcement.