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MCI OFFERS FREE TIPS TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AGAINST PHONE FRAUD

 MCI OFFERS FREE TIPS TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AGAINST PHONE FRAUD
 WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 -- There is a growing problem in the long distance industry and MCI Communications Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: MCIC) is providing helpful tips to inform consumers on how to protect themselves against several types of telephone fraud.
 MCI is witnessing two serious types of telephone fraud among the waves of immigrants who are hitting America's shores in numbers not seen since the days of Ellis Island. Eighty-five percent are Asian or Hispanic and millions do not speak English. MCI is witnessing that non-English speaking customers are targeted repeatedly for telephone fraud.
 CALLING CARD FRAUD
 In today's world, calling cards provide convenience and accessibility to customers who use them to make long distance telephone calls when they are away from their offices or homes and charge calls to their account. Because thieves have recognized the value of long distance calling cards and target the cards for theft, consumers need to take precautionary measures.
 Obtaining calling card numbers can be relatively simple. Thieves hang around bus, train and airline terminals and watch people as they place long distance calls with credit cards or calling cards. They may use the help of binoculars or video cameras, or just good eyesight to record the numbers.
 In many cases where cards are abused, the authorized users never lost possession of their cards, but their card numbers were secretly observed and used by crooks.
 ILLEGAL CHARGES
 The number of impostors billing illegal charges to consumers home telephone numbers has reached staggering proportions. Unfortunately, immigrants to the United States are often the victims.
 A serious situation originates when impostors call customers in their native language and inform them that someone will be calling them and asking various questions in English and they should respond by saying "yes." Because of the language barrier non-English speaking customers are agreeing to say "yes" and as a result, agreeing to pay for unwanted calls.
 "Recent immigrants to the United States are vulnerable to telephone fraud because of new and unfamiliar telephone procedures and various language barriers," said Mark Schweitzer, international director, MCI Consumer Markets. "It is unfortunate that people are being targeted and MCI is committed to helping them avoid fraudulent situations."
 MCI Communications has comprised some helpful DO'S AND DON'TS to prevent consumers' cards from being abused:
 1. DO...MEMORIZE YOUR CALLING CARD NUMBER -- It is important to
 memorize your calling card number because if your card must
 be referred to each time you place a call, it could
 accidently be left beside the phone. In addition, removing
 the card gives a thief the opportunity to copy the number.
 If the card number is memorized, it reduces the risk of a
 thief abusing it.
 2. DO...BE AWARE OF PEOPLE LOITERING AROUND PAYPHONES -- Be
 alert to anyone who may be loitering in the area where you
 are placing a call. These people pretend to be having a
 conversation and typically will use a pad of paper and
 pencil in order to record calling card numbers.
 The best rule to follow is to stand directly in front
 of the phone while inputting the authorization code.
 The calling card offender needs to have all 14 digits
 of the calling card in the correct sequence in order to
 use it.
 3. DO...USE NORMAL CONVERSATIONAL TONE WHEN PLACING OPERATOR
 ASSISTED CALLS -- Placing operator assisted calls provides
 criminals with the opportunity to record your calling card
 number as you recite it to the operator instead of observing
 and recording the code from the card itself or as it is
 entered into the phone.
 When giving your code, speak directly into the mouth
 piece and face the phone. Speak at a normal
 conversational tone and be aware of anyone who may be
 eavesdropping.
 4. DO NOT...GIVE YOUR CALLING CARD NUMBER TO 'TELEPHONE
 SECURITY' OR OTHERS -- Anyone who calls wanting to verify
 your customer status, calling card number or any other
 information is probably attempting to use your number
 illegally in order to charge calls to your account.
 NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR CARD NUMBER TO ANYONE WHO CALLS YOU.
 Remember -- Legitimate MCI representatives will already
 know your authorization code and will not need to ask
 you for it if fraud is detected.
 5. DO NOT...SHARE YOUR CALLING CARD NUMBER WITH OTHERS -- It
 may be tempting to allow someone you know to use your
 calling card number to place "just one call". Guard your
 calling card number like you would your Visa, Mastercard,
 American Express card or other credit cards.
 6. DO NOT...ACCEPT THIRD-PARTY CALLS -- Impostors may call
 customers at home looking for verification to charge calls
 between two separate parties to their number or claim to be
 investigating trouble on the line and ask for customers to
 accept all third-party billed calls for the next twenty-four
 hours.
 Do not give anyone permission to bill third-party calls to
 your number. If permission is granted, illegal long
 distance calls may then be charged to your account.
 7. AND FINALLY...DO REPORT LOST OR STOLEN CALLING CARDS -- If
 your wallet is lost or stolen remember to cancel your
 calling card because your card number is very valuable to
 thieves. In order to minimize the resulting financial
 consequences and inconvenience, you should report the loss
 of your card to MCI as soon as you become aware of it.
 For more information on how to order an MCI Calling Card, how to use an MCI Calling Card or to report any suspicious calls, please call MCI at 800-444-3333. Customer who wish to speak with an MCI multi-lingual representative, may dial the following toll-free numbers: Spanish, 800-950-4652; Mandarin and Cantonese, 800-444-0750; Japanese, 800-888-4800; and Korean, 800-933-0550.
 In a society increasingly dependent on telecommunications, thieves have learned that calling card fraud can provide a lucrative income. Consequently, new and different scams to steal telecommunications services are developing all the time. The best method of stopping fraudulent use of calling cards is prevention -- and the best method of prevention is using the basic precautionary methods described above.
 -0- 8/13/92
 /CONTACT: Kate Fralin, 703-415-6941, or Nancy Murphy, 703-415-6226, both of MCI/
 (MCIC) CO: MCI Communications Corporation ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:


TW -- DC003 -- 9476 08/13/92 09:05 EDT
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 13, 1992
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