Local News

Fayetteville Family Hit By Growing Phone Scam

Posted March 24, 2005

— A phone scam that could cost telephone customer a lot of money is currently making the rounds.

Law enforcement agencies are warning people to watch out for callers who tell customers to dial "7-2 #."

One area family, the Pembertons, never thought such a scam would happen to them.

"It was kind of scary there for a minute," said Erin Pemberton.

Here's how the ploy works: Someone calls and poses as law enforcement telling the phone customer that a loved one is in the hospital. They then tell that person to dial "7 -2 #" and then a phone number to find out more.

"Part of it was curiosity and part of it was what if somebody really does need my help?" Pemberton said. "But as soon as I did it, I knew something wasn't right."

Phone company officials say "7-2 #" gives the caller the power to call anyone, anywhere for as long as they want -- on your account.

Sprint executives say it can happen to customers with any company.

"They can run your bill up hundreds of dollars by doing that because any calls that they make then are automatically call-forwarded to that long distance number," said Robert Grover of Sprint.

The real problem, officials say, with the scam is that customers have to stop it themselves by dialing "7-3 #."

In the meantime, the Pembertons are nervous while they wait for their next bill.

"I feel like an idiot, that I've been officially scammed now," Pemberton said. "You hear about them all the time."


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