- from the Federal Communications Commission - 


The old phone scam involving the 90# buttons on your telephone has taken a new twist. Where before the scam typically targeted businesses that use telephone switching equipment called private branch exchanges (PBXs), it has now broadened to include residential phones.

* How This Kind of Scam Occurs *

A caller calls into your home or PBX claiming to be a telephone company employee investigating technical problems with your line or checking up on calls supposedly placed to other states or countries from your line. Then the caller asks you to aid the investigation by either dialing 90# or transferring him/her caller to an outside line before hanging up the telephone receiver. By doing this, you unknowingly enable the caller to place calls that are billed to your number.

* What You Should Know *

Telephone company employees checking for technical and other types of telephone service or billing problems would not call and ask a consumer to dial a specific series of numbers before hanging up the telephone receiver. Telephone company employees would not request the consumer to connect the caller to an outside line before hanging up the receiver. These types of calls are made to trick consumers into taking actions that will enable the caller to place fraudulent calls.

* What to Do *

If you are a consumer or a business entity, you should contact your equipment manufacturer/vendor and local or long distance telephone company to obtain information about the type of security systems they have available to protect a telephone system from toll fraud. You may also ask about any monitoring services that they might have to help detect unusual telephone system usage.

* Avoid Becoming a Target *

To avoid becoming a target of this scam, educate yourself, your family, friends and employees about the 90# toll fraud scam. Encourage them to take the following steps if they think that a telephone call is fraudulent or is part of this scam:

1.  Ask the caller for his/her name and telephone number;

2.  Tell the caller you are going to call the telephone company immediately to determine whether or not there is a problem with the line;

3.  Immediately hang up the receiver; do not dial any numbers or transfer the caller to an outside line before hanging up;

4.  Find the telephone number for your telephone service provider and/or its security office and report the suspicious phone call. Be prepared to provide details of the call to the telephone company representative; and

5.  Contact your local law enforcement officials.

<To view this information on the FCC Web site visit: >

<For information on other scams visit the "Telephone Scams" section at: >