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BellSouth Consumer Advisory: Con Artists Targeting NC Consumers With Variation of Call Forwarding Telephone Scam.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A telephone scam that takes advantage of a popular calling feature and a customer's good nature is returning to North Carolina.

Referred to either as the Call Forwarding scam, or *72 scam, it enables the con artist to make phone calls that are charged back to the victim's account.

How it works

Typically, the victim receives a call from a stranger who, after apologizing for the wrong number, says he is in a difficult situation and needs urgent help to reach a parent, child or family member. In the newest version, the caller impersonates a police officer, who tells the victim that a close friend has been injured in a traffic accident and that he or she needs to talk with another officer for more information. The initial call may either ring directly or may be a collect call.

The con artist then asks the victim to dial either "star-7-2" (*72) or "7-2-pound" (72#), followed by a telephone number.

Star-7-2 and 72# are the activation codes for Call Forwarding. When a customer dials either of these codes, followed by a telephone number, all incoming calls will ring at the other number. At the end of the other line, the con artist's accomplice is able to accept all collect and third-party calls, while telling legitimate callers they have the wrong number. The customer is billed for all calls made because their number was the one from which the calls were forwarded. This ingenious scam, which even overrides cell phones' inability to receive collect calls, may go on for several days before you become aware it has occurred. During that time, you will not receive any calls, although you will be able to place outgoing calls.

Protect yourself

To keep from falling victim to the Call Forwarding scam, never activate *72 unless you definitely want to have calls forwarded elsewhere and you are certain where the calls will be forwarded. In addition, do not accept collect calls from individuals you don't know, regardless of who they claim to be.

If it happens to you

Should you be caught in this scam, immediately dial *73 to cancel Call Forwarding and report the scam to your local law enforcement agency. Then contact your local phone company for assistance.

About BellSouth Corporation

BellSouth Corporation is a Fortune 100 communications company headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and a parent company of Cingular Wireless, the nation's largest wireless voice and data provider.

Backed by award winning customer service, BellSouth offers the most comprehensive and innovative package of voice and data services available in the market. Through BellSouth Answers(R), residential and small business customers can bundle their local and long distance service with dial-up and high speed DSL Internet access, satellite television and Cingular Wireless service. For businesses, BellSouth provides secure, reliable local and long distance voice and data networking solutions. BellSouth also offers online and directory advertising through BellSouth RealPages.com and The Real Yellow Pages(R).

More information about BellSouth can be found at http://www.bellsouth.com/ .

CONTACT: Clifton Metcalf of BellSouth, +1-704-417-8741, or clifton.metcalf@bellsouth.com

Web site: http://www.bellsouth.com/

Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/095650.html
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 17, 2005
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