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How-to Collect Calls from Jail Without Exposing Yourself to the Jailhouse Jingles Phone Scam

Answering phone calls is not a crime but answering them carelessly can get you in a lot of trouble. How?

Many scams have been targeting people through their cell phones. In addition to these scams is the Jailhouse Jingles. If prison scams are any indication, helping unknown people could get you in major trouble. Jail inmates have found a way to avoid expensive phone charges. Instead of having their relatives pay the charges, they make you do it.

If you collect calls from jail or have seen any crime movie, you’re aware that the process of answering calls from jail is different. The inmates must either prepay for the call or call collect. Call collect reverses the payment process and the recipient pay for the call. Out of all the wrong number scams, this one affects your savings significantly.

If you receive a call from prison and hear the “collect call from jail recording” what is the first thought that passes your mind?

You wonder if someone you know is in trouble and instinctively answers the call. What happens next will shock you. To save you from the collect calls from jail prank we have put together this guide.

Steps to Collect Calls from Jail

As you know, to answer collect calls from prison you must listen to the recorded message and based on the payment method you’ll get to choose between two options:
  • Accept charges of the call
  • Only after following the right steps while receiving calls from a correctional facility you will be able to talk to an inmate. Now, let’s see how the prisoners are running “fake collect call from jail” scams from within the prison.

How Inmates are Targeting Innocent People to Collect Calls from Jail

You are now aware of the procedure to collect call from jail. With the help of an accomplice, the jail inmates run collect call from jail scams. Here’s how–
  • The inmate first calls an outside accomplice.
  • The accomplice initiates a three-way call to you.
  • The convict directly calls you. (Requires some acting)
  • You accept the charges or answer the three-way call.
  • They ask you to transfer the call by pressing *72 and the correct phone number.
  • The prisoner is now making a call from jail to cell phone of the person they wish to speak at your expense.

The catch here is by dialing the sequences *72, 72#, or 90# activates call forwarding. These only transfers control from your phone to the number you enter after these sequences. The Jailhouse Jingles scam is run in low-security facilities where the inmates have payphone access. By initiating a three-way call, they prevent their targets from hearing the recording that plays when people get phone calls from jail or a correctional facility.

The Working of the Jailhouse Jingles Prison Scams–An Example

Fraud Alert Sign

This section shows you an example of how these masterminds are making you pay for receiving calls from jail.


Your phone rings and when you answer you hear the prerecorded message asking whether you will accept a call from a jail inmate at ABC prison facility along with charges. Even if you don’t know anyone who is in jail, you will answer it out of fear thinking someone you know has gotten in trouble.

When you pick it up, you hear an unfamiliar voice and as you are about to hang up the person asks for your help. They tell you a well-spun story of how they only have one phone call and ask you to transfer it to some other number. Out of the goodness of your heart, you will help the person in need and hang up. You think you’re helping a person in need but, you have just permitted them to add to your phone bill.

The Effect of Prison Scams on Your Bank Balance


Since the calls made from jail are mostly collect calls from jail inmates, the charges of the call will be included in your next bill. Depending on the distance and duration of the call, it can cost you hundreds of dollars. When you look at the calls your billing company has charged you for you will find calls to unknown numbers in it. You cannot ignore any possibilities, in this case, not even the very expensive 900 “sex line” numbers.

For those who have a reason to accept calls from prison must first get all the relevant details before signing up for any prepaid offers. Generally, friends and family members of prisoners can deposit a prepaid amount in their account. The prisoner can then make calls to your number whenever permitted and your provider cannot charge you for it.

Protecting Yourself Against Prison Scams

By accepting phone calls from jail inmates, you rack up expensive charges to your bill. The key is staying alert and aware of the scam. We have informed you about how these scams work so the next time you get a collect call from jail number, make sure you are vigilant towards the possibility of the Jailhouse Jingles phone scam.

Never dial *72 or any call forwarding number at the request of an unknown party. It can be a stranger as mentioned in the example, but inmates can get creative too. They can pose as a police officer, emergency room staff, or any other authoritative figure.

Other Phone and Prison Scams

Over the years, criminals have been using phone calls as the source of scams to target innocent people. Some of the most sophisticated scams are listed in the table below.
Name Description
Jailhouse Jingles Scam The caller (an inmate or their accomplice) asks for your help by transferring the call to a number they give you.
IRS Phone Scams The caller poses to be an IRS agent and asks for a payment to avoid a lawsuit or an arrest.
Support Scams In this technical scam, the caller says that they are from a renowned company and have detected an error in your system. To fix it you are asked to install a software that grants them remote access to your system.
Charity Scams These are common especially after a disaster has occurred. The crooks take advantage of people willing to help those in need.
Lottery Scams Callers claim you have won a random lottery and ask you to pay some amount as a "tax". You should ignore these calls completely as you will never hear from them after you make the payment.

Report the Scam

If you have been a victim of the jailhouse jingles scam, make sure you report it to the police. Even if you have avoided what you think could be a jailhouse jingles scam call, bring it to the notice of respected authorities. Telephone scams come in and out of style as technology progresses, but the important part is to inform the officials. To report scam artists, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 which is the FTC helpline number.