Bell Atlantic Warns Customers About Phone Scams

Bell Atlantic Warns Customers About Phone Scams

Callers Falsely Claim to Represent Bell Atlantic
And May Ask for Personal Information

December 16, 1997

Media contacts:

John Bonomo


NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic is urging its residential and small business
customers to be on the alert for telemarketing schemes in which
callers make phony claims and request personal information.

In one scam, the caller falsely claims to represent Bell Atlantic (or
NYNEX) and offers to combine customers' local and long distance
calling charges onto one bill. The telemarketer then attempts to get
customers to agree to this offer by promising substantial savings on
their long distance bills and protection from having their telephone
service turned off. At times, the caller also may falsely claim that
Bell Atlantic will no longer be billing for certain long distance

The caller then informs customers their call is being recorded. If
customers accept the offer of bill consolidation, the recording then
may be used as authorization to change customers' long distance
company, a process known as "slamming."

In this scheme and others, the callers also may ask for personal
information such as birth dates or social security numbers. Bell
Atlantic representatives may request a birth date or social security
number only when a customer is establishing service for
credit-checking purposes and occasionally as a means of verifying
certain account information. Bell Atlantic does not use bill

Consumers who receive this type of calls should ask many questions.
Telemarketers generally hang up when they are challenged in this way.
In addition, consumers should exercise caution when asked for personal
information or dealing with any high-pressure telephone sales calls or
"special" offers.

Always ask to see offers in writing and read the fine print closely.
Reputable firms will welcome this careful scrutiny. Other helpful
tips on handling telephone sales calls are included in the "Telephone
Protection Tips" section of the Customer Guide Pages at the front of
Bell Atlantic (or NYNEX) White Pages telephone directories.

If Bell Atlantic customers feel they have been victimized by one of
these telemarketing scams and they want to restore their carrier
choices, or if they would like to "freeze" their accounts so their
accounts cannot be slammed in the future, they should call their Bell
Atlantic business office. The toll-free phone numbers for these
centers are listed in the front of the Bell Atlantic (or NYNEX) White
Pages telephone directories.

The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.8 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.