Call Forwarding Scams

There’s a scam making headlines here in Northwest Indiana lately, and it’s actually one I hadn’t heard of until now.

Known as the Call Forwarding Scam (sometimes the *72 Scam), this setup begins when you get a call from a person who claims to have been arrested on some minor violation. They claim to have dialed the wrong number, but since “you only get one phone call” when you’re hauled in, they need you to forward the call to a relative (usually because someone has to pick up their kids from school). The caller instructs you to dial *72, followed by another phone number, which forwards the call.

What actually happens is that you’ve set your phone to forward all incoming calls to this number, which is likely a cell phone owned by the scammer. The crook now tells his friends, family and accomplices to call him collect at your number, which bills the call to you, but forwards it to him.

The variation that showed up here in NWI recently took a different approach; this time, the scammer claimed the victim’s son had been in a wreck, and to dial *72 and a phone number for more information.

Avoiding this type of scam is as simple as never punching codes into your telephone at the request of a stranger. They might try to play on your emotions, but you have to maintain some objectivity, no matter what they say. You have no way of verifying if that caller is who they claim to be.