LOS ANGELES (CBS) — An inmate from the Los Angeles County jail system may want to use you to reach out and touch someone.

KNX 1070’s Bill Cooper reports an old phone scam is being reworked in the county jails.

The scheme involves inmates placing phone calls from inside prison and then convincing whoever picks up the phone to dial a number with a special call forwarding prefix.

That prefix will then forward all incoming calls made to the victim’s phone to the scammer’s phone including collect calls made by inmates who want to avoid the charges.

Deputy Robert Bacey says the scams helps circumvent the jail house phone system’s automatic greeting.

“When an inmate in the Los Angeles County system calls you, there is a pre-recorded message that says, ‘An inmate from the LA County Sheriff’s department is trying to contact you via a collect call, are you willing to accept those charges?'”, says Bacey.

Officials say anyone who has been a victim of the scheme should contact their service provider, or opt-out of the call forwarding by dialing another prefix.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. moe says:

    The phones are given to the inmates by the guards.

    1. OCBratt says:

      To elaborate, cell phones are being smuggled into the jails by the guards. I think this is more of an issue in prison systems and OCJ

  2. Lui Lui says:

    Solution: Take away the phones. Any communication should be made through letters, like the good ol’ days.

  3. Steve W. says:

    Hey Moe and OC Brat, the inmates have access to phones at all times. Stop trying to make everything a scandal or a corruption case. You can thank all the criminal loving liberals for these problems.

  4. Ben Dover says:

    wrong county. It;s LA not OC. By the way, the cell phone smuggling was going on at state prisons, not county jails.

  5. Rachel Ozaeta says:

    This just happened to me,a TRUSTEE supposedly said a relative of mine was incarceratedl(couldn’t give Me aname though)He said had booking number but need to call *721xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask for watch commander to get all info.Ha ha what a joke.It sounded fishy with *72(call forwarding) on a jail call.I dialed number and a girl answered playing dumb.Just be careful with this scam.All inmates calls paid by us.

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