20 Jul TDS warns of continuing "Vishing" attempts
Madison, Wis. – Nearly a week since its first notification, TDS Telecom says 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.
The scam is known as “Vishing,” which is similar to online “Phishing” schemes.
As part of a “Vishing” scheme, customers are offered a 35 percent discount on their long-distance service and are asked to “verify a few things” before receiving the discount. Those few things may include a clarification of their address and phone number, maiden name, or other personal identifiers.
And sometimes, the caller will pose as an employee of TDS, AT&T, or other established companies.
Andrew Petersen, director of legislative affairs and public relations for TDS, said telecommunications customers must be cautious.
“Generally, customers can tell from the level of professionalism and grammar that it is a fraudulent call,” Petersen said. “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.”
And now, fraudulent callers are trying to raise the level of confusion, targeting both businesses and residential customers. According to TDS, in the latest fraudulent report received from a TDS customer, the caller offering the phony long distance deal referenced AT&T 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 – a false claim.
“This is simply not true,” Petersen noted.
What is true is that SBC completed its acquisition of AT&T last November. TDS was not involved in that transaction.
Jeff Bentoff, a spokesman for AT&T Wisconsin, said his company appreciates TDS’ efforts to help consumers and businesses avoid being slammed or deceived by the unethical business practices of suspicious marketers. He said AT&T would join TDS in cautioning potential victims to be on the lookout for fraudulent marketing behavior.
TDS urges customers to check directly with the company by calling 1-888-CALL-TDS to validate any promotional offer they receive. If they are suspicious of a request for personal information, AT&T customers can call (800) 924-1000 to validate the call.
Consumers also can report suspicious telemarketing activity to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128.
• CIO Leadership Series: Leslie Hearn, TDS Telecom
• CEO of TDS Telecom to retire at end of year
• Jim Carlini: Was the Telecom Act of 1996 a boon or bomb for U.S.?
• TDS trades markets to gain Duluth presence