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These conference call lines (and, again, sex chat lines) use a scheme called traffic pumping, designed to increase the number of calls made to these area codes and handled by the rural telephone companies in question. By way of example, one rural telco’s usage went from 1.5 million minutes in April 2005 to almost 25 million (yes, twenty-five million) in October 2006 – that’s more than a 1,500% increase in only 18 months.
The calls themselves are free to the caller, outside of any long distance fees they’d typically pay to their provider – which in almost all cases, is under 10 cents per minute (see, e.g., this price breakdown).
The trick, then, is to artificially increase the number of calls made to these rural numbers.
Your 800 Bill to Credit Card account will give callers the opportunity to increase the length of their call before time runs out thereby extending the call without hanging up!
This feature was designed to help you make you more money!
Nevertheless, you may have called South Dakota recently – even if the people on the other line were not there — most likely, via a free conference call (or sex chat, if that’s your game) service.
These services are one of a few which use phone numbers in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Iowa as call-in numbers for your group to chat.
The long-distance providers pay the hefty per-minute fee described above to the rural telephone companies.