“90#” Phone Scam Targeting Businesses

“90#” Phone Scam Targeting Businesses

I recently just read about this phone scam that has been going around here where people are pretending to be technicians of your local phone company who are doing a routine test. They are basically tricking callers into pressing “90#” during the call which grants the scammer access to do things like calling long distance with your phone line. Business customers are obviously very vulnerable if its staff members are not aware of this. Here is an official news release from Telus about the matter:

Simple steps will head-off telephone scam

Business customers need to protect themselves as decades-old scam resurfaces

TELUS is reminding its customers to take some simple steps to protect themselves from an old phone scam that has resurged in recent weeks. A number of residential and business customers have reported receiving calls from someone posing as a TELUS technician and asking them to dial 90# to give them access to an outside line for repair work.

TELUS technicians would never make such calls the callers are scam artists.

This is just one variant of the scam. In other cases the caller will tell you that you have won a prize and must dial 9 to claim it. Other variants will see the con artist asking to be transferred to local 9011.

Residential customers are not at risk from any variant of this scam and should simply hang up their phone. However, business customers with a commercial switchboard requiring employees to dial 9 to gain an outside line are at risk. Should a scam artist convince an employee to dial 9, 90# or 9011 the scam artist may gain access to an outside line and call overseas at the businesses’ expense.

To protect themselves, businesses should:

-Implement a policy that no-one will transfer an unknown caller to an outside line. Encourage switchboard operators to challenge any suspicious calls.

-Put a policy in place that if a caller requests an outside line the switchboard operator advise them of the no-transfer policy and ask for their name and phone number, offering to call them back to ensure their legitimacy before transferring the call. Scammers will usually hang up.

-Program their switches to block all overseas calls if the operation does not require them.

The con artists can be very convincing, often threatening to report a switchboard operator for not transferring them or claiming they are a personal friend of a company executive and will get the employee fired.

In some cases when these con artists realize they have called a residential line and the recipient has not hung up, they will attempt to switch to a different scam and advise the homeowner that they have won a prize and try to convince them to hand over credit card numbers or other information. If someone you don’t know asks for personal or financial information over the phone they may be trying to scam you hang up.


  • June Stefoff 6/1/2009

    This doesn’t tell me if it is true or false.

  • teresa 6/30/2010

    i work at a motel and this sscam is true they try to call our hotel all night long and hang up when they can’t give you info on a guest and will try to call right back and it is really annoying and it makes our guest really mad

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