How To Avoid Call Forwarding Scams

An old type of swindle that has returned to the marketplace is called the "CALL FORWARDING SCAM". This type of fraud seems so reasonable it is easy for the victim to be taken advantage of. There are several different examples of ways that allow individuals to become victims.

1. Your phone rings and you are told that someone you know is in the hospital and you need to call right away. However, to reach the right desk, dial *72 and the number.

Of course, when you do this you will hear a busy signal and think your call is not going through. What has happened is that you have given the number called access to use your number for any type of call they wish, which is billed to your phone number. These calls may be long distance, party or hot lines, or any number of other types. NOTE: If you realize what has happened you can dial *73 to cancel call forwarding and need to contact your phone company immediately.

2. Another way this fraud works is that you receive a call from someone who says they have been in an accident or arrested and only had one phone call, which they misdialed.

They ask you to forward a call to a relative because of something they must do (such as go to the hospital to pick up someone else who was injured). Of course, you must dial *72 prior to the number you have been given. Whoever has set up this fraud can even receive 'collect' calls that are then added to your phone bill.

3. You receive an automatic message that you have won a prize or money and need to dial a 2-digit code before or followed by *79 or *72 numbers and then an 800 number.

When you dial the number, you are not connected to anyone. What has happened is that your phone has been programmed to forward your calls to a long distance operator. The scammers can then place calls that you will be billed for later.

4. This not only happens with regular landlines, but with people who have cell phones with International roaming capabilities as well. Under these circumstances, a scammer steals your SIM card and diverts/forwards your cell number to an international switchboard, which can use your card to reach any global destination.

If you have become a victim of this fraud, you should immediately alert your telephone company. Complaints can also be filed with the FCC. This can be done by:
o Filing an online complaint form
o Call 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice
o 1-888-TELL-fcc (1-888-835-5322) TTY
o 1-866-418-0232 Fax
o Visit FCC's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau website
o Write to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
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