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SCAM ALERT: Inmates Stealing Your Phone Number, BBB says -- Eric Alvarez

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Inmates are exploiting tragedy to steal victims’ phone accounts, according to the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee.

The BBB is calling it the *72 scam.  Here’s how they say it works:

Scammers call your phone in the middle of the night, hoping to catch you disoriented.

A voice tells you a loved one has been seriously hurt, and listed you as an emergency contact,

The voice tells you to call the emergency hotline, with the prefix *72.

The *72 enables a call forwarding feature, which then connects to a payphone in the Texas prison system where inmates can charge expensive collect calls to your account.

The attorney general of Texas warned consumers in the Lone Star State about a similar scam in 2004.

The BBB says it seems the scam is making a comeback, and this time, scammers are dialing numbers across the country.

"It won't be long that BBB will start getting reports here locally,” said Kathleen Calligan, CEO of the BBB of Middle Tennessee.

Calligan said if you think you've been a victim, you should dial *73 immediately to deactivate the call-forwarding feature.

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