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Release: Immediate

UI telecommunications officials warn about telephone scam

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa telecommunications officials are warning UI employees and others about a telephone scam that has apparently cropped up again.

UI Telecommunications has had reports of people receiving phone calls from a person claiming to be a service technician or employee of a telephone company or long distance service provider. The caller says he is testing phone lines and asks that the person dial 90 and the pound key (#) and then hang up, says William Cleveland of the University's Information Technology Services Customer Relations office.

"You don't want to do what they ask, because if you do, the caller has your phone line and can make just about as many long distance calls as he wishes to make," Cleveland explained. "And since you actually allowed them to have access to your line, it can be difficult to get out of paying the bills."

"The best thing to do is simply hang up," Cleveland adds. "Or you can ask for the person's name and phone number and offer to call them back. Do not, under any circumstances, give the caller any information. No telephone or communications company does business that way."

University employees who receive such calls at work should call their local police department (Iowa City or Coralville) and ITS Customer Relations (335-5966). Anyone who receives such calls at home should call their local police department and their phone company.