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Verizon Warns Consumers:
Beware of On-Line Phishing Scam

Newest scam involves attempts to collect credit card numbers and other sensitive information through fake websites. Verizon customers should be aware of a new wave of scams that try to pry personal information from consumers, which can lead to identity theft and other crimes.

The newest scam involves an authentic-looking e-mail from someone posing as a Verizon representative. The e-mail asks Verizon customers to update their personal billing information - such as credit card or social security numbers - and directs them to a website that is designed to look like a Verizon website. The phony website is actually operated by the scammers. The e-mail falsely warns the consumer that in order to continue receiving Verizon services, he or she must visit the fake website and avoid paying a processing fee by updating personal and account information. Verizon does not do business in this fashion, nor does the company charge consumers to update their information.

This latest wave of scams directing consumers to phony websites known as phishing - has targeted a number of other industries and companies over the past year.

Consumers should be wary of any e-mail or phone call asking that they reveal credit card or other sensitive information. Verizon customers can call the company via the phone number on their bills, or they can visit the real home page at or the Verizon Online home page at - if they have any suspicions about an e-mail, phone call or letter.

The bottom line is there are many scam artists willing to do anything to trick consumers into giving up personal information or money.

Other scams also threaten consumers

Other scams consumers should be aware of include:

Pop-up ad questions - This is another relatively new issue. Verizon Online customers and other internet access-provider consumers should carefully securitize what they agree to when they click on website pop-up ads and are asked to respond to a series of questions. In some cases, dial-up consumers who clicked yes to several pop-up ad questions have found their computer modems re-programmed to make expensive long distance calls. Pop-up ads are a legitimate way of advertising on websites (like junk mail we wish they would go away) but consumers should read the fine print and make sure they know what they are agreeing to when they click the yes button in response to questions in such an ad. It could be a costly mistake.

Collect calls from unknown callers

This is a relatively old scam that has been surfacing again recently in several areas of the country. Under this scam, a caller calls people through an operator and asks them to accept a collect call by convincing them someone they know is in jail. In the relatively rare where the called party accepts the call and associated charges, the caller hangs up and the consumer is stuck with a charge for the collect call. In some cases, the scammer stays on and tries to convince the consumer to program his or her incoming calls to be forwarded to another destination. In some cases, this can then lead to the scam artist making additional long distance calls that are then charged to the unsuspecting consumer. Never accept a collect call unless it is from someone you know or from someone whose identity you can verify.

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