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 ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers now can learn how to "Outfox Phone Fraud" with a free brochure from Bell Atlantic that offers tips for calling card users, residential and business customers on avoiding phone fraud, one of the nation's fastest-growing scams, the company announced today.
 Bell Atlantic is releasing the brochure during National Consumer Week (Oct. 24-30), which is sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Consumer Affairs.
 Telephone fraud is a crime that each year rings up about $5 billion in fraudulent phone charges and victimizes millions of people. "The most common form of telephone fraud is `shoulder surfing,' where thieves steal calling card numbers by watching or listening when customers make calling card calls," said Mary Chacanias, Bell Atlantic fraud prevention manager.
 Other scam artists may misrepresent themselves when making third-party charges or collect calls, sell phony investment schemes or vacation packages over the phone, or get calling card numbers from customers for the purpose of "identification." The criminals then use or sell the calling card numbers.
 To bolster the fight against toll fraud, Bell Atlantic recently opened its Fraud Prevention Center, a 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year facility near Baltimore. With skilled investigators and state-of-art technology, the center monitors fraud activity and gives long distance telephone companies and consumers a single point of contact to deal with telephone fraud matters.
 "Bell Atlantic is committed to stopping phone fraud, and our new center will go a long way toward accomplishing this," said David Fratkin, Bell Atlantic Fraud Prevention Center manager. "But we can't do it without the help of our customers. They're on the front lines in this battle."
 Consumers who believe they have been victims of phone fraud should call their local telephone company business office. To report a lost or stolen Bell Atlantic(R) IQ(R) Card, call 1-800-745-6989.
 Consumers who would like a copy of the "Outfox Phone Fraud" brochure should call 1-800-809-8898 or fax their name, address and number of brochures needed to 304-343-6689.
 Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL), based in Philadelphia, is the parent company of New Jersey Bell, Bell of Pennsylvania, Diamond State Telephone (Delaware) and the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone companies of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, companies that provide a full array of local exchange telecommunications services in the mid-Atlantic region.
 Bell Atlantic also is the parent of one of the nation's largest cellular carriers and of companies that provide software, systems integration, hardware and software service and support, and financial services throughout the United States and internationally. In addition, Bell Atlantic International offers network services and consulting to telephone authorities throughout the world and owns an interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand.
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 /CONTACT: Dave Pacholczyk in Baltimore, 410-393-7109; Harry Mitchell in Charleston, W.Va., 304-344-7562; Jim Carrigan in Newark, N.J., 201-649-2279; Sharon Shaffer in Philadelphia, 215-466-4540; Shirley Risoldi in Pittsburgh, 412-633-3423; Paul Miller in Richmond, Va., 804-772-1460; Michel Daley in Washington, 202-392-1021; or Ells Edwards in Wilmington, Del., 302-576-5340, all of Bell Atlantic/

CO: Bell Atlantic Corporation ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU:

KC-CD -- PG007 -- 7294 10/27/93 12:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 27, 1993

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