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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Phone scams continuing

By Judy Lilly, CNS

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 15 - December 8, 1994

In previous memos, distributed in January and September of 1993, CNS notified departments about scams originating from correctional facilities.

CNS has just been notified that other universities have been targets of a new scam originating from correctional facilities. An inmate makes a collect call to an individual and identifies himself as an AT&T technician checking transmission problems within the network. The caller quickly explains that the university will not be billed for the call even though it is collect. The caller asks questions about how the university's telecommunications network operates--specifically how calls are transferred--and then asks to be transferred to an outside line with a call to an 800 or 900 number.

The following is a brief summary of the circumstances described in the original memos:

An individual answering the phone may be told that the caller is calling via TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) device and that they are a quadriplegic. The individual answering the call may be asked to accept a collect call. Once the individual has accepted the call, the caller may ask to be transferred to an off-campus number or to an outside operator. If the person receiving the call is unable to or refuses to connect the caller to an off-campus number or to an outside operator, the caller will ask to be transferred to another department, thus enabling the caller to attempt to "scam" a new person.

Communications Network Services highly recommends that departments do not accept collect calls. If you do accept one, do not transfer the call to an off-campus number or to an outside operator. If the "scam" is successful, your department could be charged for many hours of fraudulent calls.

CNS would like to thank everyone for their cooperation on this matter. For more information, or to report a possible fraudulent situation, please call 1-6460.