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Jaycinth
01-17-2006, 09:50 PM
BADSCAMBADSCAMBADSCAMBADSCAM

90# on the telephone

PASS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW

I received a telephone call last evening from an individual identifying himself as an AT&T Service technician who was conducting a test on telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test I should touch nine(9), zero(0), the pound sign (#), and then hang up.

Luckily, I was suspicious and refused.

Upon contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which enables them to place long distance calls billed to your home phone number.


I was further informed that this scam has been originating from many local jails/prisons. I have also verified this information with UCB Telecom,Pacific Bell, MCI, Bell Atlantic and GTE. Please beware.

DO NOT press 90# for ANYONE.
PLEASE pass this on to everyone YOU know.

If you have other newsletters from organizations you are connected with, I encourage you to pass on this information to them.


After checking with Verizon they also said it was true, so do not dial (9),zero(0), the pound sign # and hang up for anyone.

Cathy C
01-17-2006, 10:10 PM
Jeez! Is this old dead horse making the rounds again? This is URBAN LEGEND, folks, and has been wandering the alleys of folklore since there were switchboards! I know, because I'm of a multi-generation telephone family -- AT&T, back to Bell Systems, back to Western Electric and back further still to American Telephone and Telegraph (when there WAS still a telegraph! :ROFL: )


Let me enlighten you on the reality of this. The only POSSIBLE way that this could work is if the person is using a phone that requires first getting an outside line. You know the ones, like hotels and such where you have to dial 9+your number. Now, dialing 9 + 0 gets you an operator. Dialing 9 + 0 + #, IF the phone does not have restrictions on where you can call with an operator-assisted number, THEN hanging up would enable the person still remaining on the line (IF, again, the phone didn't disconnect the other person) to bill back the call to the original number.

But for normal business phones and residential phones? Nope. All you'll get is a busy signal, and it won't do a blinking thing but make an annoying noise. Doesn't even matter what country you're in, phones are phones. They're all made by the same people, and work in the same ways.

If you go over to this site: http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/weekly/aa021898.htm You can read nearly the same message posted above that has wandered around for years. There are other threads on this same site with the EXACT message.

Ignoring it is the best way to handle these things.

mdin
01-17-2006, 10:10 PM
http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/jailcall.asp

mdin
01-17-2006, 10:11 PM
Foiled again by Cathy C!

Royale With Cheese
01-17-2006, 10:16 PM
I concur with Cathy C. I'm a project manager for SBC/AT&T. Before that I was a tech. Pressing 9-0-# won't do anything on your residential service.


If anyone saying they are from the phone company asks you to do anything from your side of the line then they are an imposter. It is very simple for us to access your line from where it originates at the Central Office.

Cathy C
01-17-2006, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the link, Navigator! Hadn't seen some of the new twists on this involving hospitals and labs. Sheesh. Still, for residential customers? Never happen.

Cathy C
01-17-2006, 10:22 PM
I concur with Cathy C. I'm a project manager for SBC/AT&T.

Are you as amused as I am, Royale With Cheese, at the level of irony that you're ONCE AGAIN under Ma Bell's umbrella? Can Bell Labs and Western Electric be far behind...? ;)

ChunkyC
01-17-2006, 10:41 PM
Okay, the only thing I don't get here is how the capability to call 9 for an outside line has anything to do with dialing 9-0-# while already on the phone with someone who called you from outside. How can you dial 9 to get an outside line when you're already on the line? Makes no sense.

For dialing 9 to work, you have to hang up first, then pick up the phone and dial 9 etc. What this thing is asking you to do is dial that string while still on the line, before you hang up.

So that begs the question: what would punching those numbers while in the middle of a conversation on an already open line do?

It's certainly a hoax for residential customers on phone systems that don't use the 'dial 9' thing to get a line, but if one of you folks who work in the industry could perhaps clarify what dialing 9 during a conversation does on a system that is set up that way, that would be great.

Royale With Cheese
01-17-2006, 10:47 PM
Punching numbers on an open line will do nothing. This is a hoax. If someone had called customer service about this and were told it would work then they are mistaken. Customer Service people at SBC/AT&T know absolutley nothing about the network and how it works. They get paid $7.00 an hour and have never even seen the inside of a central office.




Okay, the only thing I don't get here is how the capability to call 9 for an outside line has anything to do with dialing 9-0-# while already on the phone with someone who called you from outside. How can you dial 9 to get an outside line when you're already on the line? Makes no sense.

For dialing 9 to work, you have to hang up first, then pick up the phone and dial 9 etc. What this thing is asking you to do is dial that string while still on the line, before you hang up.

So that begs the question: what would punching those numbers while in the middle of a conversation on an already open line do?

I'm sure it's a hoax, but if one of you folks who work in the industry could perhaps clarify, that would be great.

Royale With Cheese
01-17-2006, 10:50 PM
Are you as amused as I am, Royale With Cheese, at the level of irony that you're ONCE AGAIN under Ma Bell's umbrella? Can Bell Labs and Western Electric be far behind...? ;)

We'll see about Bell Labs and W.E. The government has to approve any mergers.

As far as being under baby bell again...I'm too young to have worked here when we were a Bell. I have been Ameritech, then SBC and now AT&T. Three name changes, three email accounts. We just finally got all our vehicles the SBC logo on them. Now we are going to have to change them again. God knows when I'll recieve a new ID. Don't know if they are just going to wait until it expires. So far I haven't seen anyone wearing one yet.

ChunkyC
01-17-2006, 10:51 PM
Thanks Royale. I figured as much, but wanted to defer to someone with expertise in this area.

Dawno
01-17-2006, 10:56 PM
This thread is a good object lesson. NEVER pass along a "scam" warning until you've checked snopes, scambusters, whomever does urban legend debunking. When you've done that you might want to double check again if you're really worried. I keep sending friends and relatives over to snopes and scambusters time after time because they keep sending me stuff. If I listened to just 1% of it I'd never answer the phone, read my mail, use deodorant or wear an underwire bra. sheesh. I'd also go broke sending greeting cards to cancer victims and searching for the families of German girls in hurricane shelters.

Jaycinth
01-17-2006, 10:57 PM
I have taken several of the links and comments that you folks posted and sent them back to John. (An associate, who, it appears has time to freak out, but not time to actually check it out.)

And people wonder why I don't like consultants or trust co-workers. Someone send me a head sized paper bag.

( I'd post John's email address but then you would be annoying him and William would have to arrest you.)

However..Now that I think about it, if anyone has any comments you'd like me to forward to John, nose to nose and in person.....Post them here. I'll drag him in here and make him read them. (And he will get a special mention in the house of hate, when I am sufficiently ticked off to do so.)

Unique
01-17-2006, 11:01 PM
If this scam doesn't work, why would anyone call another person acting like it does?

Did heavy breathing go out of style?:Huh:

Mike Coombes
01-17-2006, 11:10 PM
So that begs the question: what would punching those numbers while in the middle of a conversation on an already open line do?



Duh. Phone a friend and find out.

Royale With Cheese
01-17-2006, 11:16 PM
This topic got me thinking. So I just ran into my boss' office. He's been in the telephone business since I was in diapers so he pretty much knows everything.

It is possible for this to happen. But it's also highly unlikely. I'll try to explain without using so many industry terms.

In order to do this one would have to reprogram the Switch. (A switch is a piece of equipment that routes phone calls. IE; dialing 1 before you make a long distance call tells the swich you are going outside the area code)

This could happen two ways. (1) This person would have to somehow know how to remotely tellnet into the switch. (2) This person would have to have access to get inside a central office. This is highly unlikely since you need a picture ID, a key card and a CO key.

This person would have to know TL1 language in order to reprogram the switch. An example of TL1 would be this: This is TL1 to perform a modem synchoronization test on a piece of DSL equipment inside a central office
CONN-TACC:SNFRCA01H05:ADSL-1-1-1-3:CTAG:999:EF,2WA:D2M,OT,OT,N:00,0.0,0.0:FULL,TSC

Pretty complicated huh? They would have to program the switch to be able to accept key prompts of 9-0-# during a open call. Then they would have to program this sequence of numbers to reset the line once the resident hangs up there phone in order for the intruder to start placing calls on their line.

Even if they did reprogram the switch it would set off alarms at the Network Operations Center. It would screw up the network in that prefix and SBC would know about it immediatly. A tech would respond asap and turn down that switch (which would knock service out to hundereds of people) in order to reset it and reprogram it from scratch.

Again, possible, but very unlikely. So don't worry people.

mdin
01-17-2006, 11:28 PM
No worries, Jaycinth. I still get daily, hysterical emails from my mother about needles tainted with AIDS hiding in the change thingy of payphones or copies of cookie recipes from Neiman Marcus.

Cathy C
01-17-2006, 11:41 PM
Yep. This is pretty much the current scenario. The only other method would be to get an old lineman's test phone and hack into the lines at the pole. But then why would you need the 90#?

Now, back . . . oh, 40 years ago, when PBX systems were common in large buildings and businesses, it was possible for two people to share a common open line and be allowed independent actions (think "party line" or "conference call"). When one person dropped off the line, the line remained active and allowed the person to make a separate call without hanging up. But this ability ended in the mid-60s, when the "kill switch" came into being. This was a trigger at the central station that said "One person hung up. End call and give a dial tone." After that, when one party on a call disconnects, both parties are cut off. Otherwise, like an annoying neighbor on a party line, someone who didn't hang up could keep the other person off the line indefinitely.

There aren't many (if ANY) places left with party lines. I've had one in a couple of very rural spots and it allows for some freaky things (but you still couldn't do 90# !) It was fun for pranks on my folks when I was a kid. You could dial your OWN phone number in the middle of the night, hang up quickly and it would ring you back due to the delays at the central station ending the first call. But that function ended long ago too.

SC Harrison
01-18-2006, 03:20 AM
This is just an observation, and will probably reveal my telephonic ignorance, but...don't some prisons operate a contracted call center, allowing inmates to work as (legal) telemarketers? Would the advanced set-up this requires (PCs linked to databases) make it easier for them to pull this kind of thing off?

Plus, am I the only one who thinks this is about the worst type of job to give a convicted criminal? License plates yes; call me at dinner time to try to weasel my credit card number from me? Not just no...

Cathy C
01-18-2006, 03:29 AM
This is an interesting scenario you raise, book_maven. Okay, I'll accept that the instruction to push a button could be deemed to be accepting a collect call. Within jails and the prison system, they go through an electronic switchboard which both traces and records calls based on "keywords" for prisoner infractions. This electronic system does indeed ask for key punches to accept the call. But I'm not quite certain what "call forwarding" would have to do with hijacking your phone line. All call forwarding does is to SEND your calls to a new number, for convenience when traveling. I don't THINK the receiving number would then be able to charge to your number. Hmm...



Royale -- any comment on this scenario? This might very well turn the old hoax into a whole new ballgame.

Royale With Cheese
01-18-2006, 04:08 AM
I will say again. Customer service does not know one thing about the telephone business. But I'll stand back. I only have 7 years of experience with the phone company as a tech or a project manager.

Oh yeah, BTW call your home phone with your cell phone and dial 9-0-# and hang up. See what happens. Absolutley nothing.

Cathy C
01-18-2006, 04:12 AM
All call forwarding does is to SEND your calls to a new number, for convenience when traveling. I don't THINK the receiving number would then be able to charge to your number. Hmm...



So, from a tech point, is this possible? When calls are forwarded to a secondary number, do OUTGOING calls from the secondary number charge back to the original number?