Protecting Your Long Distance Service

3/25/2003

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Better Business Bureaus are reporting that schemes used to steal long distance phone services appear to be on the increase. Business owners, managers and employees need to alert themselves to the different types of schemes currently being used by con artists to steal long distance services from places of business. Beware of bogus service technicians claiming to be from your telephone company. These con artists are telephoning companies and asking for assistance in testing the phone line. The unsuspecting employee is asked to test the line by pressing certain numbers on the telephone keypad and then hanging up. Doing so allows the con artist access to one of your outside lines. The thief then uses your phone line to make international or long distance phone calls.

Be suspicious of scam artists posing as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agents. These scammers are asking people to assist in an investigation of long distance frauds. The "FCC agents" are providing bogus badge numbers and the names of supposed supervisors to add credibility to their stories. They are also asking people to disclose their calling card numbers and authorization codes for long distance calls. The FCC does not solicit calling card numbers from the public to use in its investigations. The BBB advises you not to give out your calling card number as you may be held accountable for any stolen telephone service.

Also, beware of individuals who are lurking around pay phones at airports and other busy areas hoping to steal your calling card number. Those scam artists may eavesdrop on your conversation with a telephone operator or watch you dial your calling card number. Once they have your calling card number, access is quickly sold to other people. Thousands of dollars could be charged before the fraud is detected.

For information about these and other scams targeting the business community, contact your local Better Business Bureau.

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