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AT&T WARNS BUSINESS: 'HOLIDAY EFFECT' MEANS INCREASED TOLL FRAUD

 MIAMI, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T urges Florida businesses to guard against increased risk of toll-fraud attempts by hackers, or toll-call thieves, during the upcoming holiday season. Last year nationwide toll- fraud attempts increased by about 50 percent during the Christmas week. Hackers "break into" PBX's or voice-mail systems, obtain passwords or access to outside lines, and then sell or use the information to make illegal international phone calls.
 Toll fraud cost American businesses more than $2 billion in 1993.
 "Hackers count on being able to steal calls undetected while businesses are closed during a long holiday weekend," said Larry Watt, director of AT&T's Toll Fraud Prevention center. "'Tis the season to be wary."
 AT&T suggests several steps businesses can take to protect against phone fraud:
 -- Program PBX's to block outgoing calls to foreign countries during the hours the business is closed. Also consider blocking remote access into PBX and voice-mail systems both after hours and throughout the holiday weekends.
 -- Deactivate or restrict call transfer out of voice mail and auto- attendant systems.
 -- Institute a regular schedule for changing access codes and passwords, and always delete unused codes.
 -- Enroll in a fraud-prevention program that will call the customer whenever suspicious calling patterns are detected -- even in the evening and on weekends -- so the long-distance carrier can quickly block further illegal outgoing calls. AT&T monitors virtually all of its business customers' calls 24 hours a day, and its NetPROTECT(SM) Services include notification of fraud attempts even at night and on weekends.
 For example, with NetPROTECT Plus Service a business can designate three people and their reach numbers after work hours, so that AT&T can notify the representative and work with him or her to stop the fraud quickly.
 AT&T is the industry leader in helping companies to prevent toll fraud. Businesses that want more information on preventative measures can request AT&T's free booklet, "Tips on Safeguarding Your Company's Telecom Network," by calling 800-NET-SAFE.
 -0- 12/8/93
 /CONTACT: David Bikle, 201-644-7052, or home, 201-871-0104, or Jacqui Brier Kiviat, 305-662-6409, or home, 305-437-8549, both of AT&T/


CO: AT&T ST: Florida IN: TLS SU:

AW-RK -- FL013 -- 1863 12/08/93 15:07 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 8, 1993
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