May 25, 2012 6:22 AM by Lacey Steele

Phone scam steals prepaid minutes

Scams seem to be everywhere these days, but here's one we'd never heard about.

Imagine losing all your minutes on your prepaid cell phone.

That's what happened to one Colorado man, who wants to remain anonymous.

We found out how easy it was to fall for this scam.

"I added another year of service and a thousand minutes," says the man who adds he refuses to accept being a victim.

That was on April 1 of this year.

"Shortly after that I started getting these vile, vile texts from North Carolina."

He didn't recognize the number, but he says he wanted the messages to stop.

"I texted them back and said, 'Look I live in Colorado. I don't live anywhere near North Carolina.' They finally texted me and said, 'Okay thanks. Goodbye."

Shortly after, he turned his phone on only to find out it wouldn't work.

When he contacted AT&T about his prepaid phone, he found out his 1000 minutes were gone.

They'd been transferred to another number.

"They wouldn't give me the number, but they would give me the last four digits which turned out to be the same number I was getting these vile texts from."

He says AT&T told him there are three ways for another number to take your minutes.

"All they needed was the name on my account and my address, which I didn't have because it was a prepaid phone. Or they needed the security code, which I never set up. The last one was the one. It was that all they needed was my number, which they had because they had texted me, and they needed my last activity, which they had because I had texted them back."

When he then texted the same number back from another phone to question them, he got a challenge.

"'You don't know where we are.' Then they told me they were in North Carolina. They said, 'You can't catch me and my peeps.' They were trying to taunt me."

He says AT&T told him he was too nice and shouldn't have sent a text back.

"When you get vile texts you kind of want them to stop, so I texted them and said, 'You have the wrong place.'"

Now he says it won't happen to him again.

"If you get a text from somebody and you don't know who it is, don't open it."

He adds you should delete it immediately.

We contacted AT&T repeatedly and they would not confirm nor deny it's possible to transfer minutes from one prepaid phone to another simply by providing the last few text messages, but they did contact our victim and gave him back all his minutes.

You can block text messages from a phone by forwarding the message to "spam" or 7726.

Here's a list of our contact with AT&T:

On May 15, 2012, at 11:28 AM, KOAA wrote:

Suzanne, thanks for the email. The customer's information is below, but I need you to answer a couple of questions for our story.

Is this information correct? A person can switch minutes from one phone to another if he has any of the three things below:

1) personal information that belongs to that account like name, address, social security number

2) PIN for that phone

3) The last several transactions on that phone

It is critical I get those questions answered.

We will include the blocking text info you provided in our story and tell people not to answer texts from unknown people, but this whole story hinges on number 3 above.


Working on it. What's your deadline today?


Thanks for getting back to me. If we could get the answer(s) by tomorrow at 5 p.m. Colorado time that would be great.


We are investigating Mr. ******* claim and will follow-up with him to discuss our findings. As always, our goal is to provide outstanding customer service.


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