Even while jailed, Los Angeles County inmates are increasingly victimizing unsuspecting people in a phone fraud scheme, reports the Los Angeles Times. Sheriff’s investigators are warning people of a new trend in which inmates are cold-calling numbers and yelling “Emergency!” while the recorded warning plays stating that the call is from an inmate.
Once the unsuspecting person accepts the collect call, the inmate will usually say he is a deputy and that he has information about a loved one who is injured. The inmate will then tell the victim to call a sergeant or supervisor for information. They tell the person to dial *72 followed by a phone number the inmate provides, usually for a girlfriend or gang associate. According to deputies, *72 is a code that transfers calls to the number entered. After the victim unknowingly sets their phone to transfer calls, the inmates begin making calls. All charges are passed on to the victim, according to investigators. Detectives say the charges add up very quickly and can run up to several thousands of dollars before the victim finds out.