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Franklin Co. residents warned of phone scam

January 21, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Jail Warden John Wetzel is warning residents of a possible collect call telephone scam is which victims could be charged for accepting bogus calls.

The jail had three calls from area residents Saturday who said they received automated collect calls from the jail, although they know no one in jail. The jail's telephone system had no record of the attempted calls, Wetzel wrote in a press release.

Two of the people called were in the 749 exchange and their telephone numbers differed only in the last digit, Wetzel wrote.

"This makes me suspect an automated sequential dialer is used," Wetzel wrote.

One caller told jail officials the call had an 866 area code, which is used for toll-free calling, according to AreaCodeHelp.com. Doing an Internet search for the entire number, Wetzel wrote, "I discovered that it is linked to telephone scams."

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"These scams pretend to be calls from correctional institutions, and even contain names of real institutions and service providers," Wetzel wrote. "I saw reports of persons who were charged $25 on their phone bills after accepting such calls."

In a real collect call from the jail, Wetzel wrote that the person receiving the call would be first advised by a recorded message that "You have a collect call from" followed by a recording of the inmate saying his or her name and "Franklin County Prison." The person receiving the call is then offered the option of having all calls from the jail blocked.

Anyone receiving a questionable call may report it to the jail at 717-264-9513.

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