For More Information Contact:
Jeff Bentoff AT&T
DeAnne Boegli, TDS
Madison, Wis. — Nearly a week since the first notification, telecommunications customers in Wisconsin, including several served by TDS, are still being approached by a fraudulent company offering significant reductions in long distance calling plans.
In a scam known as “Vishing,” which is similar to the “Phishing” schemes online, customers are offered a 35 percent discount on their Long Distance service and are asked to “verify a few things” before receiving the discount. This could mean a customer is asked to clarify their address and phone number, give out a maiden name or other personal identifiable information.
Sometimes the caller says they are with TDS, AT&T or other established companies, which adds to the confusion.
“Customers of telecommunications service 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 Public Relations for TDS Telecommunications Corporation.
In the latest fraudulent report received from a TDS customer, it was determined the caller offering the phony long distance deal was using the AT&T name as his employer. When the customer informed the imposter he had TDS for long distance, the caller stated ‘TDS and AT&T’ have merged to become the same company. “This is simply not true. ATT and TDS are not the same company,” remarked Petersen.
Jeff Bentoff, a spokesman for AT&T Wisconsin, said, “AT&T has long been committed to helping consumers and businesses avoid being slammed or deceived by the unethical business practices of suspicious marketers. We appreciate TDS alerting AT&T of these suspicious activities in Wisconsin and we join them in cautioning potential victims to be on the lookout for this type of marketing behavior.”
Both business and residential customers are being targeted, Petersen said. It is possible that consumers other than TDS customers have been or will be targeted.
“We have smart customers and thankfully they have been great in alerting us to the calls,” states Petersen. “It appears that these scam artists are just using a phone book to call our customers.”
TDS urges customers to check directly with the company by calling 1-888-CALL-TDS to validate any promotional offerings they receive. If suspicious, of a request for personal information, AT&T customers can call (800) 924-1000 to validate any such calls.
Consumers also should report any suspicious telemarketing activity to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128.
TDS Telecom, a growing national company headquartered in Madison, Wis., brings high-quality, locally based telecommunications services to hundreds of rural and suburban communities across the United States. The company, along with its subsidiary TDS Metrocom, provides service for more than 1.1 million access line equivalents. Visit http://www.tdstelecom.com for more information.
TDS Telecom is part of the Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (AMEX: TDS) family of companies. TDS, is a diversified telecommunications corporation founded in 1969. Through its strategic business units, U.S. Cellular (AMEX: USM) and TDS Telecom, TDS operates primarily by providing wireless and local telecommunications service. The company currently employs approximately 11,600 people and serves approximately 6.4 million customers in 36 states.