Collect Call from Prison

Collect Call From Prison: How The Scam Works

(with video below) If you ever receive a phone call from your local prison and the operator tells you to press 1 to receive a collect call, don’t accept it – unless your buddy is arrested on a regular basis and you know he always calls. Many victims accept these collect calls because they don’t know who is on the other side, assuming is one of their relatives.

Watch the video below to see the sneaky Collection Call Scam, exposed:

How does this scam work? Whenever allowed to make phone calls, real inmates dial random numbers until they find somebody willing to help. As soon as the victims answer, the scammer comes in with a quick apology for disturbing them followed by an emotional short story, such as being thrown in jail because he beat up a guy who assaulted his daughter, an hour ago.

The prisoner will ask the victim to call a number where supposedly his daughter is, to make sure she is okay. He will say that the number is impossible to reach from the prison he is in, or that they are not allowed to call cell phones. People fall for this scam as they think they are doing a good deed.

In reality, what victims do when dialing the number provided is just… call-forwarding their own telephone lines. This way, after getting you to forward the number, the scammer can call anywhere he wants, without being charged.

In a different variation of the scam, the callers cannot even be jail mates. They could be regular scammers trying to make phone calls on your dime. For example, they would pick names from the phone book with specific ethnicity and tell the operator they are part of their family.

Collect Call From Prison: How to Avoid

Check the forwarding code in your country and make sure you never use it when asked to by someone else. For example, in US the code to forward your number if you belong to the Verizon network is *72. To deactivate it, it is *73. Whether you are in Australia, the United Kingdom or Canada, always find out these numbers for your specific network!


Collect Call From Prison: How to Report

Make your family and friends aware of the Collect Call From Prison scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here


How to protect yourself more:

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

30 thoughts on “Collect Call from Prison”

  1. There is something going on with the Lewis and Clark county jail..Helena MT. I listened to the menu options which said press 3 to block all calls from the jail phones which are listed on caller ID as coming from a payphone. I don’t know jail people but if they are in there that’s where they belong. If anybody I know is in there they can write me a letter..small town mail finds the correct person anyway.
    Thank you for exposing this particular scam.

  2. Here’s one better, I received a call from my husband’s cell phone number and when I answered it was actually a recording from a prison asking if I would accept a call from an inmate, don’t remember the name, but it freaked me out and I just hung up without saying anything. I texted my husband to ask if he had just tried to call me and he replied yes. I called him and he was completely baffled as well.

  3. I got a call from 314-669-2753; I didn’t answer and the voicemail told me to press 9, nothing else. I’m glad I checked the number first before calling back. I don’t take calls from numbers that my caller id doesn’t recognize.

  4. I received my first call about a week ago. I accepted the first one, as it said it was free and I was concerned it was family. Told the dude right away he had the wrong number, apologized and hung up. I have had two more missed calls since then. I tried calling the number back in order to connect to maybe a rep and ask them to have that person stop calling, BUT there was no option for connecting with one. I will have fun ignoring these calls for however long someone wants to play this game. I’m going to call him my "prison buddy."


  6. Someone please call me. I am being ripped off. Fiancé in jail. Time and money disappearing. Help 7275576313 andrea


  8. Omg! I keep getting a call from a Texas prison 713-489-7846 from a Robert Reynolds, this is no one I know. This isn’t the first time either. I received a call from the some individual about a month or so ago. I have NEVER accepted and won’t.

  9. All of this just for a free phone call? I keep getting calls today from a prison phone service and the woman leaving her name as the inmate is using my last name (to pretend to be a distant family member I presume).

    I knew it was false because she mispronounced my last name as nearly everyone does. But it gave me pause when I first heard it anyway, this is an awful scam. These people belong in jail by gosh… haha!!

  10. How do they get the phone numbers to call …curious ..I recived a call today from a Texas Prison (713)568-6973…..S.O.Bit#@$’s

  11. First on Sept 10 received call from 855-876-5380 3:16p from RUDE east Indian man wanting a JOSH, and insisted on verifying my number, even after I said THREE TIMES he reached wrong number. Then NEXT DAY SEPT 11 Received a call which tracks back to this PRISON SCAM CALLER ID WAS 1-800-483-8314
    Wilkinson county correctional facility
    2999 US Highway 61 N, Woodville, MS 39669
    (601) 888-3199 caller id was 1-800-483-8314 ar 848pm on sept 11

    713-568-6986 736pm from "josh" from a correctional facility also

  12. I live in canada but kept getting a call from a u.s prison. It happened several times a week for a year. I never pressed 1 to accept because i knew it was a scam since i live so far away but i was always curious what would happen if i answered

  13. Recently I received three of this type of call within two days to my cell phone. Two of them were from a 314 area code.

  14. i have been getting calls from 4797212579, 3168717407, 7572956691, 6178204358, 3134149981, 5057021996, 5867924931, 7875143285, 5023037745, 5057022996, 7174725594 (12x) in 2 days that last number telling me to press 1 to accept…. its annoying.. one time it happened 4am in the morning..i was pissed i called the number back and a lady answer i ask if she called and she said no…. i was upset.. and telling her what the call said and she or the phone hung up

  15. I get these calls CONSTANTLY. I have submitted numerous FTC complaints. Nothing happens. I am tempted to spend $99 on a call blocker to make them stop.

  16. I have received 4 calls from a prison in Mo, 314-669-2753. The female automated voice is clear and easy to understand. The male saying his name does it quickly so it’s hard to understand.

  17. Yesterday I received a call from Mo. Prison in Farminmgton, and a lady (sounded like an operator) asking me if I would accept a "free" call from, then a deep man’s voice said something, which I couldn’t understand, and the lady then said press "1" to accept, and I hung up.
    Got another called in the evening from the same place and same number on caller I.D. If it continues
    I will call the local police first.
    They did say press "6" if you do not want these calls in the future, but I am afraid to press any number.

  18. I got two such calls yesterday from the county jail, but they gave me the option of blocking calls from the jail if I press 4. Could be legit, but if it is I feel sorry form some girl named Audra – she has the wrong number.

  19. jerry Ledwith

    What if you keep getting the call but NO ONE is on the other end when you answer and if you try to call the number back its states its a "NON WORKING NUMBER??

  20. I have received 3 collect phone calls this week from 713 574-110l asking for me to accept the call. I did not, but I would like this stopped.

  21. Here’s what I did to end the collect calls from Prisons:

    ATT collect call block

    Call Correctional Billing to block all calls –Depends on which Prison the call comes from
    Global Tel service 877 650-4249
    main number 800-489-4500

    or Securus Correctional Billing 800 844-6591

    Scam Calls came from Caller ID 713-574-1101 DOC Dept of Corrections
    and Shasta State Prison 503 243-0019

    If this doesn’t work, Call police and get a case number and then can the ATT Annoyance Bureau 800 348-8727

    Customers who cannot resolve scam billing disputes with their phone carrier can call the Public Utilities Commission at (800) 649-7570.

  22. Two things that you might be able to do if the scammers won’t quit calling. First, contact the jail or facility from which they are calling, give them the inmate’s name and your phone number, and ask that they investigate the possibility of a phone scam. It may take them some time, especially if the calls are happening late in the day or on a weekend, but sometimes this will stop the calls. The other option is to call your phone company and ask to have a block put on your phone. Unfortunately, this kind of block may also block legitimate 800 numbers, but if you cannot get the calls to stop otherwise, it may be worth it to you.

  23. Hi,

    For the last two years I have been getting collect calls from the men’s prison and I would just hang up.
    Yesterday, they refused to accept my no response and
    called me all day and into the night. I finally
    pressed the buttons and spoke to a man that told me
    that my number was given to him by an injured prisoner and that the only way he would stop calling me and to have my number
    taken off their computer was for me to talk to the
    sargent of the prison. He tried to keep me on the
    phone, but I hung up, but continued to receive the
    requested collect phone calls on into the night. I ended up turning my phone off, which is an inconvenience to me.

  24. Some guy named Julio keeps calling me asking for tyler he won’t stop calling and the operator keeps calling asking me to pay for an account to talk to him. I blocked the number but he keeps calling me still

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