Prison Phone Scam Targets West Memphis - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

West Memphis, AR

Prison Phone Scam Targets West Memphis

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (KAIT) - Most of us dread the thought of getting a phone call from the police or hospital telling us that a loved one is ill or has been seriously injured.  Unfortunately, scam artists prey on such emotions to defraud some people.  In February, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a consumer alert to warn Arkansans of a recurring phone scam, which appears to have been orchestrated by prison inmates.  Now, there is evidence that this phone scam has reached Arkansas and is targeting residents in West Memphis.

In this scam, prisoners make collect calls at random.  Once the inmate connects with a person on the other end of the line, he lies to the unsuspecting individual and states that there has been an accident involving a relative.  The inmate then instructs the person to call a series of numbers, beginning with 1172.  Once the person calls the number, however, he is not connected to anybody, but rather, he unknowingly provides the inmate with open access to his personal residential line.  Some victims of this scam in other parts of the country have been defrauded out of hundreds of dollars in long-distance calls.

West Memphis residents who have received these calls are told to specifically call 1172-1-312-217-8527.  One victim who called the number reported that it appeared on his caller ID at 773-847-8989 followed by the word "prison."  Public protection investigators have traced the number to the Cook County Jail in Illinois.

"If you get a call like this, it's important to stay calm and stay alert," said McDaniel.  "You should verify the information through an independent source, such as the police department, phone operator or hospital, which will help prevent you from suffering emotional, and possibly financial, stress."


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