Bell Atlantic Warns Customers of Holiday Phone Scams

Bell Atlantic Warns Customers
of Holiday Phone Scams

Con Artists Seek Billing Information, Calling Card
PIN Numbers

December 14, 1999


Jack Hoey,

Harry Mitchell,

BOSTON -- Phone scams seem to increase around the holidays. Every
year, con artists take advantage of the hectic season, hoping harried
consumers will unwittingly divulge information that will allow the
scammers to make free long-distance calls at others' expense.

"Most scams are variations on the same theme," said Dave
Fisher, manager of Bell Atlantic's Fraud Prevention Center. "The
con artist claims to be a Bell Atlantic representative and asks for a
customer's calling card PIN number or other billing information."

Fisher stressed that Bell Atlantic never calls to ask for PIN numbers and
never calls customers collect.

Bell Atlantic already has received reports that con artists are trying such
scams in some areas this holiday season. As part of the company's
customer care program, Bell Atlantic alerts consumers whenever it is
aware of phone fraud and provides tips on how to avoid being a victim.

"Never accept a collect call from someone you don't know,"
Fisher said. "Do not provide unknown callers with your calling card
PIN. If you are suspicious of a caller, ask for a phone number so you can
call back or hang up immediately."

Customers are asked to report any incidents to the Bell Atlantic 24-hour
Fraud Prevention Center: 1-800-745-6989.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines
and more than 10 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 23 countries.