Phone Scam and Alltel

LUDINGTON, Mich. – Police and phone company officials from Alltel Corp. are warning customers in western Michigan not to answer calls from an 868 area code, saying the calls could be scams.

The calls are coming from Trinidad and began Jan. 22, police said. The calls are targeting Alltel cell phone customers with a 231 area code and the 233 and 690 exchange prefixes.

“It looks like they’re in Mason and Manistee counties,” said Andrew Moreau, spokesman for Little Rock, Ark.-based Alltel.

The scam involves a computer-generated call from a person who pretends to be familiar with the recipient or makes a threatening comment, provoking them to return the call to a phony 900 number. Those who return the calls are charged as much as $25 per minute.

Alltel is asking customers affected by the scam to save the numbers and report them by calling the company. Alltel will credit customers for the cost of the calls while it works to block the calls, Moreau said.

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