Customer Alert: Beware of Phone Scam Targeted at Businesses

Customer Alert: Beware of Phone Scam Targeted at Businesses

Callers Posing as Telephone Company Technicians
Try to Make Unauthorized Long Distance Calls

November 10, 1998


Harry Mitchell,

Or your local Bell Atlantic

media relations contact

(NOTE TO EDITORS: The following news release, originally issued in
February, is being reissued in light of continued customer calls and Internet
messages about a telephone fraud scam directed at business customers.)

NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic today issued a warning about a phone scam
that can lead to high long distance charges on the victim's phone bill.
Word of the scam is circulating on the Internet.

In the latest version of an old scam, callers posing as telephone company
employees are trying to trick business customers into allowing them to
make long distance calls at the business's expense.

Here's how it works: A caller tells you he's a telephone company employee
who is testing your business's phone service. He asks you to connect him
to an operator by pushing several buttons on your phone and then hanging
up. On some business phone systems, this can give the caller an outside
line that can be used to make long distance calls billed to the unsuspecting

"This type of scam isn't new, and it resurfaces from time to time in a
slightly different form," said Paul Glover, Bell Atlantic manager-fraud
prevention. "The objective of these scams is the same -- to gain a person's
confidence so that the person gives the scammer access to a telephone line.
And no one should give such access to an unknown caller."

Customers should immediately be cautious if asked for this type of
assistance by a caller claiming to be an employee of Bell Atlantic or another
telecommunications company. Bell Atlantic technicians can test telephone
lines and equipment without asking for such assistance.

"Probe the caller for more information -- an employee identification
number, supervisor's name and telephone number or other information that
could help verify whether that caller is an employee or a scammer," said
Glover. "Or ask the caller for a number where you can call him back and
verify the caller's identity before returning the call. When faced with this
type of response, most of these scam artists will leave you alone."

Customers who feel they have been victimized by such a scam should
contact their long distance company or Bell Atlantic.

Helpful information on phone fraud is available on the World Wide Web
site of the Alliance to Outfox Phone Fraud

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and eight 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.