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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VII, Issue 11||November/December 2004|
by Bob Witham
We have received information from two state agencies of a phone scam that is occurring on State phones. These agencies received phone calls from outside of State Government. The caller identified himself as being from "phone maintenance" and they were calling collect. After the collect call was accepted, they asked to be transferred to 9-0. The calls both originated from The Passaic County Jail.
Please be aware that this is a very old scam. Someone calls and asks you to press 9-0. Many times this transfers the caller to the switchboard operator, or even outside of the phone exchange to a telephone company operator.
This particular scam is especially bad in that the caller identified himself as "phone maintenance" yet was still placing a collect call. Please be aware that anyone from the phone company will not call you collect for any reason. Moreover, anyone who calls you from the phone company does not need to have you transfer them to any other number.
Another scam that is similar to this one involves the caller identifying himself as being from the phone company and testing lines, and needs to have you transfer him to another number to complete the test. This is not true. Any legitimate phone company repair person can connect to any number without customer assistance.
Please make your employees and colleagues aware of these scams. You may also want to stress other policies related to phone use that your agency may have such as not accepting collect calls, not transferring calls to outside numbers, so forth. Of course these policies must be tailored for your agency, and some agencies permit outside calls to be transferred to other outside numbers.
Bob Witham, Information Systems Security Analyst, may be contacted by calling 207-624-9439.