The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

August 31, 2010
Call-forwarding scam targeting area residents

By Cathy Locke

Sacramento resident Virginia Fremstad is warning of a telephone scam after learning that she may have been an unwitting victim.

Fremstad said she received a phone call Aug. 15 purporting to be from an inmate at Sacramento County's Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. She was advised to press "1" if she was willing to accept the collect call and set up an account so the inmate could call her. If she didn't wish to accept it, she was told to press "7."

Fremstad said she pressed 7, but then noticed that the call came from a Houston, Texas, area code.

She had friends in Houston and called them. When she described the phone call, her friend said it sounded like a scam that had plagued the Houston area and pressing "7" could allow the caller to run up charges on her telephone account.

Sacramento Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said he hadn't received any reports of the scam. If an inmate calls from jail, the person receiving the call is given the option of accepting or declining the call but is not directed to press a number, Curran said.

An Internet search turned up reports of a prison inmate phone scam resembling the call Fremstad described. Typically, an inmate asks the individual to dial a sequence of numbers that begins • 72 to forward the call. This sets up a call-forwarding scam that turns the victim's phone line over to the inmate.

Anyone receiving such a call is advised to hang up and to notify their phone company if it appears they have been wrongly billed for long-distance calls or collect calls from jail.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at:

The Public Eye


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives