Weather Forecast


Don't fall for phone scam

CenturyLink, formerly Embarq, is warning customers to be wary of calls from telemarketers who claim to offer long-distance services on behalf of the company.

Telemarketers from another company are calling customers in the Alexandria area and are misrepresenting themselves as agents of CenturyLink, claiming they are authorized to sell long-distance plans.

"CenturyLink wants to help keep its customers from falling prey to scams that could result in identity theft or loss of financial assets," said Market Development Manager Carrie Amann of CenturyLink. "These particular calls are considered to be part of a 'slamming' or 'cramming' scheme."

Slamming is a term for an unauthorized change to your long distance company. This often happens when you sign up for a contest or other marketing promotion without checking the fine print.

The company then has authority to switch you from your current long distance company.

Cramming is similar, but involves a company placing an unauthorized miscellaneous charge on your phone bill. This could involve a charge for a voice mail service, Internet access services, or other service charges.

How to protect yourself: Read the fine print when you agree to a sales pitch or contest over the phone or in person and check all details on your bill.

If you see a suspicious charge, use the contact information provided to ask about the charge. If you cannot resolve the situation and you didn't authorize the charge, contact CenturyLink at (952) 556-5679.

"The bottom line: never give out information to people you don't know, and always review your phone bill carefully," said Amann.