A staff report
Qwest Communications International Inc. is launching an initiative to help customers identify possible telephone and Internet theft and fraud with the introduction of its “Customer Protection Information” Web site.
Consumers lose billions of dollars each year because of telephone and Internet fraud, according to industry experts – and that number is continuing to grow. The Qwest Web site is the first initiative in an ongoing customer education program aimed at providing customers with protective tools against fraud.
“Phone scams and Internet fraud are on the rise,” said Ken Lane, spokesman for Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar. “It is significant that major companies are dedicating time and resources to ensure that their customers don’t become victims of a scam.”
Available at www.qwest.com, the new site provides customers with helpful and easy-to-understand information and preventive tips. It also identifies and clarifies a variety of scams and fraudulent practices targeted at residential and small-business customers. For example, the site offers customers helpful hints to protect their telephone bills from unauthorized charges and/or services, computers from harmful viruses and personal information from theft on the Internet.
“We’re & proactively working to protect customers and answer the questions we get from thousands of people each year about telephone and Internet scams,” said Dave Heller, vice president of risk management for Qwest. “We hope this site helps our customers know when to be aware and when to take action.”
The company says that well-informed customers are the key to safeguarding against fraud and abuse. To that end, here are some precautions that every consumer should take:
n Provide personal information on the Internet only if you are confident that the organization you are dealing with is credible.
n Safeguard your telecommunications account information and shred your invoice when discarding it.
n Be aware of unknown people asking for your cooperation in testing the telephone line. Remember, telephone technicians never ask customers to participate in a testing procedure and can conduct telephone line tests without the customer’s assistance.
n Be cautious about dialing unfamiliar area codes.
n Respond with caution to any telemarketing or sweepstakes offer that may be tied to your telecommunications services.
Customers who have questions or would like to talk to a Qwest representative directly can contact Qwest customer service at (800) 244-1111 or can take advantage of Qwest’s new “click to chat” instant-messaging feature on www.qwest.com.