Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Phone Scam Watch

Convicts Preying On Consumers

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Highway Patrol is issuing an alert to a phone
scam that is spreading throughout Florida. Callers (con artists) who are
impersonating Florida Highway Patrol Troopers, as well as other law
enforcement officers, have been contacting citizens by telephone at random
advising them that a family member has been involved in a traffic crash. The
con artist urges the phone owner to dial either *72 or 72# in order to speak
with a doctor. By doing this, the phone owner will unknowingly permit the
caller on the other end to use their phone line for making local or long
distance telephone calls which will ultimately be billed to the phone owner'
s account. Citizens who suspect that they may have fallen victim to a con
artist phone scam must contact their local phone company to ascertain how to
remove call forwarding from their telephone forwarding system.

Most of these phone calls have originated from pay phones located within
correctional facilities. Some correctional facilities have started playing a
recording on all collect calls dialed from pay phones within the facility in
which the receiver of the call is advised that they are receiving a collect
call from a correctional facility. Many of the calls have originated from a
correctional facility in Miami-Dade. Please note that if your phone is
equipped with caller ID, these calls begin with (305) 459 xxxx and the ID
name will be TCG payphones. Be cautioned that the Miami-Dade Correctional
Facility is not the only facility from which these calls can originate and
the above listed number is for informational purposes only.

Victims or potential victims should immediately contact the law enforcement
agency the caller claimed to represent. Anyone receiving a suspicious call
is asked to make notations about the caller's voice, request a call back
number, and take advantage of the caller ID feature if they have the
equipment installed on their phone. The Florida Highway Patrol does not
notify family members of crash victims via collect calls from pay phones,
nor would we request anyone to dial a *72 or 72# number. Anyone who suspects
that they might have been victimized by an individual who identified
himself/herself as a member of the Florida Highway Patrol is asked to
contact their local Florida Highway Patrol station.

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