Bell Atlantic Warns Anne Arundel Customers of Calling Card Scam
Con Artist Making Long Distance Calls
May 8, 1998
BALTIMORE -- Bell Atlantic - Maryland customers who live in
Anne Arundel County are the targets of an old scam. They are
unwittingly providing the personal identification numbers (PINs) for
their telephone calling cards to a con artist who is using the
information to make illegal long-distance calls.
The scam could result in unauthorized telephone calls on customers'
The scam artist is identified as a male calling from the Miami, Fla.
area. He is randomly dialing customers living in Annapolis,
Severna Park and other Anne Arundel County communities. He
claims to be a Bell Atlantic employee investigating a high volume of
long distance calls being made from the customer's number. He
tells the customer that he needs their PIN to verify their calling card
number, aid his investigation and to prevent the calls from being
"We never call customers to ask for their PINs during
investigations," said Dave Fisher, manager of Bell Atlantic's Fraud
Prevention Center. "Customers should never provide their calling
card PIN to a stranger, even if the stranger claims to work for Bell
Atlantic. Instead, they should hang up immediately and call our
office at 1-800-745-6989 to report the incident. We are open 24
hours a day, seven days a week. "
This type of scam is not unusual. It has been around for some time,
but keeps moving to new locations. Fraud of all types costs the
telecommunications industry over $12 billion annually, Fisher said.
However, Bell Atlantic has become adept at stamping out this type
of scam. "We reduced fraud by 80 percent in 1995 and by 20
percent in both 1996 and 1997," Fisher said. "We are managing the
situation very well. In many instances when someone tries to use a
calling card illegally, it triggers our internal alarms and we are able
to shut the card off immediately."
Fisher acknowledged that criminals adapt to new procedures by
becoming more creative. "Customers can help tremendously by
never giving strangers confidential information about their phone
service," he said.
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access
lines and 6.7 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 22