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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
The Snake River Region
Scam Alert: Verizon Calls a Reminder About Billing Requests
September 10, 2012

Shelley resident Justin says he didn’t pay any attention to the phone number. He says he usually answers all calls coming to his phone.

Surprised, he listened more intently when the woman on the phone began telling him his recent payment has been rejected and that he would need to give her a credit or debit card number immediately to avoid having his phone service shut off.

“Geez, I couldn’t let my phone get shut off,” the 27-year-old says. “So, I pulled out my credit card and began to give her the number.”

As he began to read off the second set of four on his Visa, he says he stopped.

“I just asked her who she was again,” he says. “That’s when she got screwed up, and I hung up.”

Several months earlier, BBB issued a warning to residents in the Snake River Region about a text message scam that requested immediate credit card payment to avoid disconnect.

Now, the scammers are using stolen phone lists to call users direct. 

BBB had five calls from concerned Verizon subscribers on Thursday of last week, and the calls keep coming in.

First, don’t ever give out your personal or financial information to someone you don’t know or trust.

Second, ask yourself these questions:

• Who's calling - and why? Telemarketers must tell you it's a sales call, the name of the seller and what they're selling before they make their pitch. If they don't give you the required information, say "no thanks," and get off the phone.

• What's their hurry? Fast talkers who use high-pressure tactics could be hiding something. Take your time. Most legitimate businesses will give you time and written information about an offer before asking you to commit to a purchase.

• If it's free, why are they asking me to pay? Question charges you need to pay to redeem a prize or gift. Free is free. If you have to pay, it's a purchase - not a prize or a gift.

• Why am I "confirming" my account information - or giving it out at all? Some callers have your billing information before they call you. They're trying to get you to say, "okay" so they can claim you approved a charge.

• And, can I call back. Incoming calls can be from anyone and anywhere. We all pay bills through the Internet. Most companies have options on how they can contact you that include calling you on the phone. Just remember that even if you have pre-enrolled to have a business contact you by phone or email, be suspicious.

Contact your service provider – via phone or email – and ask for verification. If you truly have a problem with a bill – whether its Verizon or another company – hang up, look up the number and make a call. Don’t trust taking callback number from the person on the phone.

In addition, there are kiosks, strip mall phone service centers that you can stop into and verify your account status.

If there is an error or problem with the billing, the customer service representative will understand.