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Beware of new phone scam

    By Gary Rollins

LA VETA- Both CenturyTel and the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Department have confirmed our area is being bombarded with long distance calls placed from the Harris County Jail system.  Those with caller ID on their phones will note the call is placed from a pay phone and it has been confirmed the calls are, indeed, being placed from the pay phone bank at the Harris County Jail in Texas.

    If you answer the call, the caller will urge you to immediately call back to speak with the Duty Sergeant, who will tell you the name of the inmate who is trying to reach you.  The caller will instruct you to call *222-555-333-8888.  The numbers are irrelevant.  It is the star that precedes the sequence that will allow the caller immediate access to your telephone account.  Typically, the caller will then make numerous long distance calls, national and international, that will be charged to your account.

    There is a possibility that you will be charged more than $5 per minute if you continue to speak to the caller.  You technically agree to pay for the call just by answering your phone. 

    Once you have received a single call, you may expect more and more calls.  Both CenturyTel and the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Department recommend you not answer these calls.

    Further, it has been suggested that you carefully review your monthly CenturyTel statements to assure you’ve not been billed for unauthorized long distance calls.  It has been confirmed that this scam is national in scope.  Keep notes that might come in handy if you have a dispute with CenturyTel.

    So beware.  Your friends and business associates will probably tell you they have received calls of this type recently.  You have two choices. Either do not answer.  Or, if you answer and recognize this scam, hang up immediately.