Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile makes major strides in war on cellular phone fraud; cloning fraud down 80%

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ORANGEBURG, NY -- In an industry that continues to record losses of more than $1.5 million a day, cellular phone bandits in the New York/New Jersey Metro area are finding their efforts thwarted by several new anti-fraud initiatives introduced earlier this year. Those initiatives have been so successful that fraud in the region has been reduced by more than 80 percent, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile announced today.

Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile has a message for cellular phone bandits in the New York/New Jersey Metro area: "If you try to steal cellular phone service, we'll use all our resources to stop you; if you succeed, we'll work with law enforcement to catch you; and if we catch you, we'll prosecute to the full extent of the law," said Rick Conrad, president of the company's New York/New Jersey Metro Region. "The introduction of Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) has reduced fraud for local customers and the designation of the area as a 'fraud protection zone' has slashed the incidence of fraud experienced by customers from other regions who travel ('roam') in the New York City area," he said. "These two measures have proven to be extremely effective deterrents to 'cloning' fraud."

Cloning fraud occurs when a cellular thief uses scanning equipment to intercept a legitimate customer's unique cellular identification number. "Our customers are our most powerful weapon against cellular phone fraud," Conrad said. "Our efforts to educate customers to protect themselves against cellular phone thieves are paying off and we're pleased to see more and more customers taking prudent precautions when using their cellular phones. We strongly encourage all customers to sign up for PIN code service today."

Using the PIN system, customers can gain more secure access to the Bell Atlantic NYNEX cellular system, Conrad said. A customer simply dials a phone number, presses SEND, enters a four digit PIN and presses SEND again to complete a call. PIN protection is offered to customers at no additional charge and the feature does not affect calls to 9-1-1.

Complementing the PIN system and fraud protection zones is the company's fraud protection software that detects fraudulent calls as they happen. Conrad said his company works hand in hand with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to apprehend cellular bandits and to provide the detailed information that can make fraud charges stick. Moreover, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile and other cellular carriers recently worked with legislators to stiffen penalties and make cellular fraud a federal offense.

Conrad encouraged all Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile customers to activate PIN service by calling the company' s fraud hotline at 1-800-372-8379 and offered the following tips to safeguarding their cellular phone service: -- Lock the phone or remove the telephone handset when you leave your vehicle unattended. -- Protect your electronic serial and mobile phone numbers just as you would your credit card numbers.

  • -- Use your hands-free speakerphone whenever possible. In addition to providing an important measure of safety, it also makes your cellular phone less obvious to criminals.
  • -- Allow only reputable cellular service technicians to install or test your phone.
  • -- Immediately report a stolen phone to your cellular phone carrier and the police.

With more than three million customers, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest provider in the U.S. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., the company offers a full range of wireless voice, data and paging communications solutions in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Formed in July 1995 through the combination of Bell Atlantic Mobile's and NYNEX Mobile's cellular operations, the company has more than 5,000 employees. The company's NY/NJ Metro region is based in Orangeburg, N.Y., and employs more than 600 area residents.

NYNEX is a global communications and media company that provides a full range of services in the northeastern United States and high-growth markets around the world, including the United Kingdom, Thailand, Gibraltar, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The Corporation is a leader in the telecommunications, wireless communications, cable television, directory publishing and entertainment and information services.


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