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News Releases
EMBARQ Unmasks Four Communications Urban Legends

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While the leaves begin to change, the air starts to chill, and little ghosts and goblins prepare to roam the neighborhoods, EMBARQ is busting some of the most popular communications industry urban legends.

Dallas Hayden, manager of Investigations and Law Enforcement Support at EMBARQ, sorts out fact from fiction. "Urban legends are stories many people assume are 'fact,' when in reality they are nothing more than stories passed from one person to the next. Some may be factual, but others are nothing more than a fictional story."

Here are several examples:

Urban Legend #1: Wireless phone users must register their numbers with the National Do Not Call registry to keep their numbers from being released to telemarketers.

"This is totally false," says Hayden. "Telemarketing calls to wireless phones are illegal in most cases because the Federal Communications Commission prohibits telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phones. Since automated dialers are the industry standard, most telemarketers can't call consumers on their cell phones without consent."

Urban Legend #2: Inmates in prisons can call and "trick" people into accepting collect calls that go to another number not associated with the victim.

"This, unfortunately, can be accomplished," said Hayden. "And it's not just inmates who can do this. If a victim gets a call from someone saying they are in jail, for example, and misdialed and requests the victim dial *72 followed by a number, don't do it. This will activate the victim's call forwarding feature."

If this happens, Hayden says, any call to the victim's number goes to the forwarded number. The scammer then has people call the victim's number and the scammer gets the call. This can get expensive if people make collect calls to the scammer.

Hayden says everyone should examine their bills to make sure they aren't being charged for calls they haven't made. If someone does fall for the scam, they need to turn off their call forwarding feature and call the EMBARQ(TM) business office.

Urban Legend #3: Calling #77 on a cell phone in any state will connect you with highway patrol dispatchers in that state.

"This legend is mostly false," said Hayden. "Calling #77 in some states may connect you with that state's highway patrol, but it doesn't work everywhere. Other states use codes such as *77, #55, *55, *47 or *HP, and some states have no emergency cell phone code at all."

Hayden advises customers that if they have a highway emergency, the best approach is usually to call 911.

Urban Legend #4: Phone customers have been tricked into calling phone numbers with 809 area codes that result in high charges on their phone bills. "This scam is real," warned Hayden, "and it is also used with area codes other than 809."

The scam works like this: A scammer calls a customer and leaves a message on their answering machine or pager telling them to call a number with an 809 area code to collect a prize or get information about a sick or injured relative. When people call the number, they think they are making a long distance call within the United States.

"In reality, the call is going to the Dominican Republic or other high-cost calling area," said Hayden. "Victims are unaware they are being charged international rates until they receive their phone bills."

Hayden added that "it is especially hard for us to resist calling the number when the message you received indicated your loved one was sick or injured and that you needed to call immediately. But beware! Look first at the area code, if you don't know where it is, look it up and use your common sense about whether you know anyone in that area. Once you are sure the area code is domestic you can make an educated decision about calling the number back."

Hayden cautioned all telephone users that "the bottom line for this or any phone scam is for the consumer to always be cautious about dialing any number, calling anyone, or responding to anyone they don't know. These schemes are not uncommon and they can happen to anyone. Don't let the 'trick' be on you."


Embarq Corporation (NYSE: EQ), headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, offers a complete suite of common-sense communications services. The company has approximately 19,000 employees and operates in 18 states. EMBARQ is included in the S&P 500.

For consumers, EMBARQ offers an innovative portfolio of services that includes reliable local and long distance home phone service, high-speed Internet, wireless, and satellite TV from DISH Network(R) - all on one monthly bill.

For businesses, EMBARQ has a comprehensive range of flexible and integrated services designed to help businesses of all sizes be more productive and communicate with their customers. This service portfolio includes local voice and data services, long distance, Business-Class DSL, wireless, enhanced data network services, voice and data communication equipment and managed network services.

EMBARQ believes that by focusing on the communities the company serves and by employing common sense and practical ingenuity, it is able to provide customers with a committed partner, dedicated customer service and innovative products for work and home. For more information, visit

SOURCE Embarq Corporation 


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