Dialling 90# Scam Warning - Internet/Facebook Rumour

17 Jun 2013 - Article No: 1744. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour


Hi Everyone

Please read below and pass on to your family & friends.

Got a call last night from an individual identifying himself as an Telstra Service technician who was conducting a test on our Telephone lines.
He stated that to complete the test I should touch nine(9),zero ( 0), hash (#) and then hang up. Luckily, I was suspicious and refused.
Upon contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which allows them to place long distance telephone calls billed to your home phone number.
I was further informed that this scam has been originating from many of the local Jails/prisons.
DO NOT press 90# for ANYONE. PLEASE pass this on to your friends.
If you have mailing lists and/or newsletters from organizations you are connected with, I encourage you to pass this on.

Stephen Cooper
Detective Senior Constable 29748
Victoria Police State Crime Squads
Level 12, 412 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
phone number removed
email removed
collected June 2013





A warning is circulating that asserts that scammers are attempting to lure unsuspecting victims into handing over control of their telephone service by being tricked into pressing 9-0-hash on their phone keypad. The message asserts that falling for the trick will allow the scammer to place long distance phone calls at the victimís expense.

The message however is completely false and does not apply to any home owners, mobile/cell phone users nor the majority of businesses, and the warning has been dismissed as false by several telephone providers who have been attributed to this false warning.

The email is popularly attributed to Australian phone company Telstra, who has issued a rebuttal of the long running hoax on their hoaxes page here, specifically noting -


Dialling 90# will not interfere in any way with mobile accounts or services on any network in Australia.


Whilst being completely false, the warning was once based upon fact, but only ever affected a tiny number of business users in the US who used a phone system (whereas they would have been required to dial 9/0 to get an outside line) called PABX, and would have had had it configured in a specific way to have been potentially exploited. Programmer Jonathan De Boyne Pollard explains how the exploitation worked here.

However home users or those who use mobile devices are completely safe from this type of exploitation and thus circulating the rumour in its present form is not recommended.

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