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An Indonesian phone scam run from prison

With smuggled cell phones, convicts duped victims out of several hundred thousand dollars
Indonesia prisoners 2011 10 05Enlarge
An Indonesian policeman stands guard in a Bali prison in 2010. (SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

Recent news reports out of Indonesia reveal that pirate gangs and terror cells are run out of the country's prisons.

And for the right price, you can even slip from your cell to go island hopping.

Now, according to the Jakarta Globe, Indonesian police have exposed a full-on phone scam ring run from a jail on the island of Sumatra. The con earned several inmates "billions of rupiah" or several hundred thousand U.S. dollars, according to the Globe.

The scam is similar to the classic "advance-fee fraud" e-mail tactic. (You know, the messages from an African prince hoping you'll fork over your banking info for a lucrative cash transfer.)

Instead of desperate Nigerian royalty, the prisoners would pretend to be police seeking bail for an arrested sibling.

Or hospital authorities seeking payment to treat an injured relative.

They pulled the scam off using smuggled cell phones, the Globe reported. According to the Jakarta Post, police found the perpetrators by tracing the numbers. They eventually realized the criminals were already in prison.