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About Telephone Fraud

Don't look now, but telephone fraud could be happening right behind your back. Telephone fraud is a subtle, but fast-paced crime that rings up billions in fraudulent phone charges and victimizes millions of people each year. It happens so quickly that criminals can steal calling card numbers and put them to use in seconds. There are several ways YOU can outfox phone fraud when using your calling card:

  • Make sure no one sees you key-in your calling card number or overhears you stating it to an operator. Block the view of the keypad and speak directly into the phone. When possible, use a phone that reads your card automatically.
  • Do not use your calling card as an identification card. Use your drivers' license or some other form of ID when dealing with merchants, telemarketers and other salespeople.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately. The moment you suspect your calling card has been lost or stolen or otherwise compromised, report it immediately to your card provider.
  • Memorize your calling card and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Select or change your PIN to an easily remembered number. Request that your PIN not be printed on your calling card.
  • Beware of individuals who call you requesting calling card verification. Telephone companies will NEVER call you to ask for your calling card number. Only when you make a call through an operator should you give out your calling card number.

Telephone Fraud When at Home:

  • Don't accept third-party or collect calls that are suspicious or from someone you do not know. When you accept calls, you have agreed to pay for the charges.
  • Telephone companies or law enforcement officials will never ask customers to accept collect or third-party charges as part of an investigation. The only time a telephone company representative will request specific billing information is if you make a call through an operator.
  • Restrict third-number or collect calls from being made to your home. Mid-Rivers offers this free service, thus preventing fraudulent calls form being billed to your line.
  • Ask to have your name removed from telemarketing lists. This will reduce, but not eliminate, solicitations. You may also request the caller/solicitor put your name and number on a Do-Not-Call list and ask that they do not call you again. You can also enter your name on the U.S. Federal Government's Do-Not-Call list.

Telephone Fraud in your Car:

  • Remove the handset and antenna from your car when it is not in use. This will help avoid the unwanted attention of criminals with Electronic Serial Number (ESN) cloning devices.
  • Protect your ESN. Never give your ESN number to anyone and don't put your subscriber agreement in an unsafe place, such as the automobile's glove compartment.
  • Never let anyone else use your phone unless you are present. If someone wants to use your phone, offer to dial the number for them. Fraud criminals can easily access the codes stored in your phone.
  • Have service performed only at reputable locations. If you need service, take your phone only to an authorized distributor or your cellular service provider.
  • If your phone is lost or stolen, call your local police and cellular provider immediately. The sooner you do, the less likely your phone will be used fraudulently.

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