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NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications is warning of a new scam that may result in unauthorized charges on consumers' phone bills. The con artists obtain personal information from customers so they can get calling cards that enable them to make long-distance calls which are charged to the customers' phone bills.
Here's how the scam works:
Criminals claiming to be Verizon employees call a Verizon customer, telling the customer that he or she has overpaid for phone service. The imposter offers to credit the customer's account if the customer verifies personal information or information relating to the customer's telephone account. Using this information, the scam artist then calls a Verizon business office, orders a calling card and uses it to make long-distance phone calls. This often results in steep charges on the unsuspecting victim's phone bill.
"We have stepped up our efforts to help protect consumers from criminal tactics as part of our customer care program," said Dave Fisher, a manager in Verizon's Fraud Prevention Center. "We are alerting customers as soon as possible to scams like this one because awareness is one of the most effective ways to avoid bogus charges on your phone bill."
Fisher explained that if a consumer pays more than is due on his or her phone bill, Verizon automatically credits the customer's bill for the overpayment without contacting the customer.
Verizon recommends that customers take the following steps if they receive a call from someone posing as a company employee who asks for confidential information:
- Do NOT provide the requested information. Hang up.
- Remember, if you have overpaid on your bill, there's no need to contact Verizon since the company will automatically credit your bill. The credit will appear on your next statement.
- If you see unauthorized long distance charges on your phone bill, contact your long distance company.
- If you have realize you have provided personal information to a caller by mistake, immediately contact the Verizon Fraud Prevention Center at 1-800-745-6989.
Fisher said Verizon notifies customers when the Fraud Prevention Center detects unusually high charges on a calling card. However, Verizon never calls customers to verify confidential information such as PIN or Social Security numbers.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 100 million access lines and 26 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.