College says phone scam won't work

by Sarah Warlick | 10/14/98 5:00am

Dartmouth Telephone Services is assuring students that the latest telephone scam rumor on campus is nothing to worry about.

Various students on campus have received forwarded blitzes about a telephone scam involving an impostor telephone company employee. This person supposedly asks students to dial nine, zero and then the pound key, claiming it "necessary to test your phone." By dialing nine and then zero for them, students allow the caller to make calls from student lines.

Erle Pierce, a Bell Atlantic representative, verified that the scam is in fact real. It is used especially by prison inmates to make unauthorized long distance calls.

Victims are users of PBX telephone systems; the same type Dartmouth uses. PBX systems require a nine to be dialed before placing a long distance call. Since home telephone lines do not require a nine, the scheme does not work on home phones.

Carole Clark, the College's telephone services coordinator, said Tuesday that they have not been able to get the scam to work on their phones. She said steps have been taken by Telephone Services to ensure it will not be a problem on campus.

"There are a million schemes out there," Pierce said. He advised students to never give personal information like social security numbers, credit card numbers or addresses to strangers over the phone. Legitimate telephone company employees will never ask for that type of information over the phone, he said.