Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
Tallahassee - The Florida Highway Patrol is issuing an alert to citizens regarding a phone scam that is spreading throughout Florida. Callers (con artists) who are impersonating Florida Highway Patrol Troopers, as well as other law enforcement officers, have been contacting citizens by telephone at random advising them that a family member has been involved in a traffic crash. The con artist urges the phone owner to dial either *72 or 72# in order to speak with a doctor. By doing this, the phone owner will unknowingly permit the caller on the other end to use their phone line for making local or long distance telephone calls which will ultimately be billed to the phone owner’s account. Citizens who suspect that they may have fallen victim to a con artist phone scam must contact their local phone company to ascertain how to remove call forwarding from their telephone forwarding system.
Most of these phone calls have originated from pay phones located within correctional facilities. Some correctional facilities have started playing a recording on all collect calls dialed from pay phones within the facility in which the receiver of the call is advised that they are receiving a collect call from a correctional facility. Many of the calls have originated from a correctional facility in Miami-Dade. Please note that if your phone is equipped with caller ID, these calls begin with (305) 459 xxxx and the ID name will be TCG payphones. Be cautioned that the Miami-Dade Correctional Facility is not the only facility from which these calls can originate and the above listed number is for informational purposes only.
Victims or potential victims should immediately contact the law enforcement agency the caller claimed to represent. Anyone receiving a suspicious call is asked to make notations about the caller’s voice, request a call back number, and take advantage of the caller ID feature if they have the equipment installed on their phone. The Florida Highway Patrol does not notify family members of crash victims via collect calls from pay phones, nor would we request anyone to dial a *72 or 72# number. Anyone who suspects that they might have been victimized by an individual who identified himself/herself as a member of the Florida Highway Patrol is asked to contact their local Florida Highway Patrol station.