Don't fall for this phone scam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Don't fall for this phone scam

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Your phone rings. You answer the call and the person on the line informs you that they are an AT&T service technician or a telephone company employee investigating technical problems and they are conducting a test on the telephone lines. In order to complete the test, they will ask you to dial 9, then 0 and the pound (#) sign and hang up the phone.

"It seems like a harmless thing to do because they aren't asking for personal information, just to push a couple of numbers," said Cecelia Johnson, Fraud Prevention Call Center Coordinator at Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging. "But when dialing 90#, you are actually giving the individual access to your telephone line, which enables them to place long distance calls and bill them to your home phone number."

Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging wants to help people avoid becoming a victim of the 90# telephone scam. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Ask the caller for his/her name and telephone number.
  • Tell the caller you are going to call the telephone company immediately to determine whether or not there is a problem with the line.
  • Immediately hang up the receiver, do not dial any numbers or transfer the caller to an outside line before hanging up.
  • Find the telephone number of your telephone service provider and/or its security office and report the suspicious call. Be prepared to provide details of the call to the telephone company representative.

"It is always important to make sure the call is legitimate, and some of these scam artists are very convincing," stated Deb Yankey, SMP Coordinator at Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging.

To learn more about how to recognize and report fraud, access the Federal Trade Commission at or call the Iowa Attorney General's office toll free at 1-888-777-4590. If you are an older person needing assistance obtaining information or reporting suspected fraud, call Iowa SMP at 1-800-423-2449.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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