Scam Artists Can Trick You Into Dialing “90#” on Your Phone And Use Your Line For Long Distance Calls –Truth!  & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

The warning is that a scammer claiming to be from the phone company calls and asks your help in testing the line by having you to dial “90#.”   (Some later versions of the email say it’s “#90.”) 

Once you do that, the scammer can use your telephone to make long distance calls which will be charged to your number.

The Truth:

AT&T says most residential phone users don’t have to worry about this one.  

It affects electronic phone systems that are almost exclusively used by businesses, and not all the business systems are vulnerable.

AT&T also wants everybody to know that its technicians do not ask customers to participate in repairing or testing the phones, so anybody who makes this kind of request should be suspect.  

Most of us are aware that many business phone systems require a “9” to be dialed in order to access an outside telephone line.  What the scammer is doing in making the “90#” request is having you transfer his call outside of your business phone system, then the “0” connects with the operator.  The “#” sign completes the procedure, depending on what kind of system you’re using.  After that, the scammer can ask the operator to dial whatever numbers he wants and it’ll all be charged to your business.  

AT&T says this is a variation on a variety of ways that thieves would trick employees at businesses into connecting them to outside lines.

As was mentioned, this doesn’t apply to all electronic phone systems and even some of the systems that require dialing “9” to get an outside line have been configured to prevent this and other fraud.

There is also a version of this eRumor that falsely claims that this scam can be perpetrated on your mobil phone and warns not to allow anyone to ask you to dial 90# or #09 on your mobile phone.  
The eRumor claims that doing so will access your “SIM” (subscriber identity module) card on the phone and the crooks can youse your mobile number to make phone calls at your expense.

Last updated 11/15/03

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Subject: Telephone Repair Warning

DIAL 90#!?

This is scary to think that our kids are answering the telephones.

Important, please read.

This can happen at home and at work, everyone should be aware…I’ve sent this to all my friends last Friday night and I’ve already had 3 email me and say that it’s already happened to them.

I received a telephone call from an individual identifying himself as an AT&T Service Technician that was running a test on our telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test we should touch nine (9), zero (0), pound sign (#) and hang up. Luckily, we were suspicious and refused.

Upon contacting the telephone company we were informed that by pushing 90# you end up giving the individual that called you access to your telephone line and allows them to place a long distance telephone call, with the charges appearing on your telephone bill.

We were further informed that this scam has been originating from many of the local jails/prisons. 

I have verified with UCB Telecomm that this actually happens.

I called GTE Security this morning and verified that this is definitely possible and DO NOT press 90# for ANYONE. It will give them access to your phone line to make long distance calls ANYWHERE!!! The GTE Security department told me to go ahead and share this information with EVERYONEI KNOW!!!
Could you PLEASE pass this on. If you have mailing lists and/or newsletters from organizations you are connected with, I encourage you to include this information