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Call-Forwarding Scam Reappears: Don't Be Tricked Into Dialing *72

By Dawn Fallik

Officials are warning people to be careful of an old con that's popped up again -- the call forwarding scam.

Victims often think they're doing a kindness to a stranger or for a friend. The phone rings, usually late at night, and callers tell the victim someone has been injured, and to contact an officer at the scene.

How to get the officer? By dialing *72, then a phone number.

But that *72 only activates the call forwarding function -- letting the con artists make collect phone calls and pay-per call services on your dime. Many people don't find out they've been conned until they receive a whopping phone bill.

It's recently been an issue in Michigan, where the Isabella County Sheriff's office issued a warning.

A similar scam involved someone claiming to be an inmate, saying he dialed the wrong number, explaining he has been arrested -- and please dial *72 and the "right number" so he can reach his mother or family.

That's how the scam started in 2004, when Cook County Jail inmates in Chicago used *72 to make hundreds of long-distance calls, all paid for by someone else.

Better Business Bureau officials say consumers who fall for the scam should dial *73 to deactivate the feature and report unauthorized charges to their phone companies.

via Wallet pop