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

February 26, 1998

Media contacts:

Harry Mitchell


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 business.

"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 - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six 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.