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SPRINT PROVIDES TIPS TO SMALL BUSINESSES TO PROTECT AGAINST PHONE FRAUD

 KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Estimates indicate that U.S. companies are losing approximately $2 billion each year to phone fraud. Small businesses can be especially vulnerable to phone fraud because they may lack in-house expertise to protect against fraud and can't survive the financial loss of a major incident of fraud.
 Small businesses spend approximately $5 billion a year on telecommunications services and, during National Small Business Week, May 10 to May 14, Sprint offers these tips to help small businesses protect themselves against phone fraud.
 Businesses need to recognize the risk of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) fraud -- it is a $2 billion crime, with the industry average for CPE fraud being $60,000 per incident.
 Customer Premises Equipment is all telecommunications equipment located at the users' building. Thieves use this equipment to place their long distance calls by dialing into a company's toll free 800 number in the company's Private Branch Exchange (PBX).
 The PBX, which replaced the company switchboard, is a small local automated telephone office serving extensions in a business complex and providing access to the public network or voicemail system.
 -- Recognize the potential warning signs of CPE fraud:
 -- A sudden and sustained series of hang-up calls.
 -- Callers asking employees to transfer the call to an outside
 number.
 -- A surge in Direct Inward System Access (DISA) usage,
 especially calls to international destinations, including the
 809 area code (Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic,
 Jamaica, Puerto Rico, among others). The DISA feature allows
 users to dial in to a PBX system remotely and re-originate a
 call on a WATS line. For example, a salesman on the road in
 Boston could dial in to his company's PBX at headquarters in
 San Francisco, then dial out from the PBX to virtually any
 location in the world.
 -- Unauthorized messages left in voice mailboxes.
 -- An "all circuits busy" condition on inbound or outbound trunks
 with no apparent business reason.
 To help prevent fraud:
 -- Control access to your CPE:
 -- Restrict after-hours access to your CPE, especially on
 weekends.
 -- Troubleshoot your telecommunications system and look for any
 vulnerabilities; by trial and error, simply try to defeat the
 security in your own system.
 -- Never disclose proprietary information about your company's
 telecommunications system except on a strict need-to-know
 basis. Remember, a caller can pretend to be anyone; verify
 his/her identity before you give out information.
 -- Shred or make unreadable any printed proprietary information
 before disposing of it.
 -- Delete all manufacturer-installed and vendor passwords on CPE.
 Consider the use of alpha-numeric passwords with upper and
 lower case characters whenever feasible.
 -- Eliminate the ability for your voicemail system to transfer or
 re-route calls automatically.
 -- Capture and analyze call detail with a call accounting system
 to help identify unusual calling patterns.
 -- Discourage "I will be on vacation" announcements on voicemail.
 Abusers focus their attacks on these mailboxes.
 -- Develop and implement an emergency action plan to be followed in
 the event of CPE fraud. This plan should identify specific
 responsibilities and assign personnel to each task, i.e.,
 contacting vendors for emergency assistance, contacting long
 distance carriers for assistance in identifying origin or
 destination of unauthorized calls.
 -- Provide your long distance carrier with names and numbers of
 personnel that can be reached on a 24 hour basis in the event the
 carrier identifies fraud.
 Many small businesses provide employees with calling cards to use while on the road. These cards can be vulnerable to theft and fraud. To protect against calling card fraud, remember these tips:
 -- Do not give your calling card number to anyone.
 -- Protect your number when placing calls in public places.
 "Shoulder surfers" steal numbers by standing closely behind you
 at public telephones. They then resell these numbers to others
 for long distance calling.
 -- Prior to moving, notify your long distance carrier where to
 forward your bill. Someone can raid your mailbox for the bill,
 then use the account number for their own purposes.
 -- Don't allow anyone to charge calls to your phone without
 verification.
 -- Call your long distance company immediately if you feel your
 calling card number has been compromised in any way.
 Sprint recently announced SprintGUARD Plus phone fraud protection to small businesses. SprintGUARD Plus is a global security product that allows small businesses to protect themselves against the potentially devastating effects of CPE phone fraud. Security services include identifying and monitoring potential fraud sources and financial protection with Sprint to minimize potential losses to its customers.
 Since its introduction, Sprint has reduced the average loss due to CPE fraud for its business customers to $1,200 per incident. Sprint customers have incurred less than one percent of the nearly $2 billion CPE fraud problem.
 In addition, SprintGUARD Plus provides financial protection against CPE fraud involving inbound domestic 800 and inbound international toll free calls and all international outbound calls that originate from your CPE.
 Sprint (NYSE: FON) is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network.
 Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, local telephone services to nearly 6 million subscriber lines in 19 states, and cellular operations that serve 42 metropolitan markets and more than 50 rural service areas.
 -0- 5/10/93
 /NOTE: SprintGUARD Plus is a service mark.
 /CONTACT: Robin Pence, 202-828-7454 or, after hours, 703-820-1873 or, Juanada Teas, 202-828-7426 or, after hours, 703-644-5165, both of Sprint/
 (FON)


CO: Sprint ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU:

IH-xx -- DC029 -- 6642 05/10/93 16:14 EDT
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Date:May 10, 1993
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