Call 4 Action: Inmate Scam

It's a family TMs worst fear, someone calling to tell you a loved one is in danger.

Brownsville resident, Aurora Avila told Action 4 News she got a disturbing call Wednesday afternoon.

Avila says a man, calling her collect from the Cameron County jail, began telling her someone she knew was involved in a terrible accident.

Confused and alarmed she accepted the call.

The caller identified himself as Marcos Rodriguez, an employee at the jail and insisted she call another number for the information.

Rodriguez then told her to dial a number beginning with *72. Avila followed instructions but said no one ever picked up.At that point, she began to worry and wonder if it was all a scam.

Unfortunately it is, they call it the "star 72" scam.

"What it usually is, is an inmate who is aware of that fraud, maybe from other facilities that they've been in, they go in and find some new people to work with."

Matt Anderson with Securus Technologies provides correctional facilities, like the Cameron County jail, phone services. He told Action 4 News, once the victim calls the "star 72" number it actually activates "call-forwarding".

This then, transfers their phone to the con artist allowing them to make numerous calls and rack up expensive phone bills.

Action 4 took concerns to Cameron county sheriff Omar Lucio who confirmed first off that no one by the name of Marcos Rodriguez works there.

Lucio also advised us that emergencies at the jail are handled directly.

"We will call, we'll identify ourselves," said Lucio "We don't tell them to receive a call collect. We call directly over there."

As for Avila, she reported the incident to police and immediately called her phone carrier.

She hopes others watching can learn from her mistake.

If you feel you've been a victim of this scam please call 1-800-844-6591.