Bell Atlantic Warns Customers About Calling Card Scam

Bell Atlantic Warns Customers About Calling Card Scam

Criminals Pose as Bell Atlantic Fraud Experts

April 13, 2000

Media contact: John Bonomo, 212-395-7756

NEW YORK - Bell Atlantic is alerting customers throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region about a scam in which criminals attempt to get customers' calling card numbers and their personal identification numbers (PIN).

The scam, which is usually run by a man and woman, works like this:

The man will call a Bell Atlantic customer, claiming to be from the Bell Atlantic Fraud Prevention Center. The imposter says there are a lot of expensive international long-distance calls on the customer's "new" Bell Atlantic Calling Card. The customer usually claims he or she has not received a new Bell Atlantic Calling Card. The scam artist then advises the customer to cancel the current card, and transfers the customer over to an accomplice - a woman also posing as a Bell Atlantic Fraud Prevention Center representative. She then asks the customer for their Calling Card and PIN number.

Once they get this information, the scam artists use it to make international long-distance calls, racking up very high charges on someone else's phone bill.

"Our customers need to be aware of these criminals and their scams," said Paul Glover, a senior specialist in Bell Atlantic's Fraud Prevention group. "Bell Atlantic never calls customers to verify the PIN number on their Calling Card or account. And customers should never give that information to anyone. If anyone asks for it, customers should hang up."

Bell Atlantic does have a Fraud Prevention Center staffed by representatives who contact customers when the company detects an unusually high amount of charges on a card. However, the Bell Atlantic fraud prevention staff will never ask customers to provide or verify their Calling Card PIN.

Customers who feel they have been victimized by this scam should call Bell Atlantic's 24-hour Fraud Prevention Center on 1-800-745-6989.

"Today's warning is part of our ongoing efforts to alert customers about scams as soon as we find out about them," said Glover. "Giving customers helpful information like this is an important part of our customer care program."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 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.

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