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Better Business Bureau ®
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Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana
Verizon Phone Scam Targets Montana Area Code
January 27, 2014

BBB Warns of Phone Scam Targeting Montana Area Code

Better Business Bureau is warning Montana residents with a 406 area code of a phone scam that appears to come from a legitimate Verizon customer service phone number. Faking genuine phone numbers is a common tactic known as ‘spoofing,’ and has existed for nearly a decade. In this Verizon scam, the calls appear to come from 1-800-922-0204; one of Verizon’s actual customer service phone numbers.

 

The call is a recording, claiming the recipient is eligible for a discount on their next phone bill. In order to receive the discount, the recipient was told to go to Verizon29.com and enter their Verizon Wireless username and password.

 

The website will load and appear as the official Verizon homepage. When BBB attempted to go to this website, our browser blocked the site with an alert, “Reported Phishing Website Ahead!” However, according to other victims, the website is likely attempting to gain information like usernames and passwords to charge fees on their cell phone bill, not provide a discount.

 

Your BBB offers a few tips to avoid this scam and others like it:

 

Know your cell carrier’s website. Scammers often use website URLs that sound similar to legitimate sites, like Verizon29.com. Verizon’s company website will never include numbers (i.e. “Verizon29.com”). Always be sure to check the address bar of your web browser (the horizontal white space at the top of your computer window) to check the identity of the website and for the “https://” at the beginning of the web address, indicating a secure site.

 

Do an independent search. If you are unsure that an unsolicited call is a scam, do your research. Search the phone number or website in any search engine to see if others have reported issues. You can also call your BBB at 509-455-4200 to check the legitimacy of the call.

 

Your cell carrier already has your information. A red flag should go up if a caller says they need any type of personal information (bank account number, credit card number, username, password) that you’ve previously submitted to the carrier. A cell provider like Verizon only asks customers to confirm things like residential zip code or the last four digits of your social security number.

 

Alert your cell provider ASAP. If you have any concern at all that you’ve been the target of a scam attempt, contact your cell provider immediately. Most, if not all, cell providers have phone, email and online interactive support for these very situations. Visit your carrier’s website for more information.

If you have questions about the legitimacy of a phone call, contact your BBB at 509-455-4200 or email info@spokane.bbb.org.