Scammers Call Pretending to Be AT&T, Harvest Personal Info

Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ Attorney General, AT&T and TDS are informing consumers about scammers who are calling consumers and falsely representing themselves as AT&T representatives. The scammers offer a 35% discount on your long distance service, then ask you to “verify” a few things. From the Illinois Attorney General’s Office:

“Consumers need to be prepared if they receive this type of phone call,” said Madigan. “Do not provide any personal information over the telephone, and if you believe you have received such a call, please report the call to your phone company as well as to the Attorney General’s consumer protection hotline.”

“Customers of telecommunications services need to be cautious. Generally, customers can tell from the level of professionalism and grammar that it is a fraudulent call. The caller is speaking quickly and trying to confuse the customer with names and requests. And when pressed for more information such as a company Website or name they generally hang up,” states Andrew Petersen, Director of Legislative Affairs and Public Relations for TDS.

The latest report to the IAG’s Office was from a TDS customer. When the caller said that he was calling from AT&T, the TDS customer told the scammer that he didn’t have AT&T for long distance. The scammer replied that AT&T and TDS “had merged.” (They haven’t.) There’s no reason to think that this only happens in Illinois, so the rest of you keep an ear out. Don’t fall for this stuff!—MEGHANN MARCO



Edit Your Comment

  1. MeOhMy says:

    I’m surprised more people don’t adopt the “If I don’t recognize the number or it’s private or blocked, I just don’t answer it” rule.

  2. kerry says:

    With the telecommunications world what it is right now, the “TDS and AT&T have merged” line is totally believable, making this a bit scarier.

    Most of the people I know don’t have caller ID, so that wouldn’t work for everybody.

  3. To repeat the oft-repeated Consumerist rule: never give personal information to someone who initializes the contact.

    If “AT&T” calls you up and offers some fantastic deal, hang up, look up AT&T’s 800 number in the phone book or online, and confirm the offer.

  4. ideagirl says:

    I got one of these caslls at work regarding our business service (in California). when I asked the rep to email me the information on the offer, he responded that he didn’t have email. I said, “You work for AT&T and you don’t have email?” He told me yes. I then toled me he owuld have to snail-mail me the details. his response was to say (as fast as that record talker that used to be on TV), “Congratulationsyourlongdistanceservicehasbeenswitchedthankyouforyourbusinesshaveaniceday,” and he hung up.

    We immediatley put a lock on our long distance service, and never heard from them again.

    What dirt bags.

  5. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    And this is why I screen all my landline calls.

  6. The Bigger Unit says:

    …and this is why I don’t have a LANDline.

  7. SexCpotatoes says:

    VOIP FTW!!! I get lots of calls from AT&T begging me to switch back, but they can’t seem to beat $10 a month for unlimited calls and every feature known to man and then some.