PLA Issue 32

Phone Losers of America Issue 32

Completed On June 21, 1995

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction - RedBoxChiliPepper
  • RiGHT BRiGADE - by Lokust
  • Customer Name & Address - by RBCP
  • A B C's - by Colleen Card
  • Ode To Deter - by Martini
  • Phone Losers Of America Headline News

    Introduction - RedBoxChiliPepper:

    Not a whole lot has happened since the last issue, not that anything ever really does. This issue, like the others, will be small, meaningless and as usual, a total waste of hard drive space. I was going to list all of the Customer Name & Location numbers in the United States in this issue but my eighty hour work week prevented me from getting anything done so instead I wrote some simple instructions to show you how to get the damned numbers yourself. Besides, in the middle of playing with the CN/Ls I discovered FACS (otherwise known as NOC, I think) and that's a hell of a lot more interesting anyways. I typed out a few news articles from the local paper that I thought were interesting, no fake news this time, sorry. I once again proved how stupid Circle K employees are (to the DefCon Voice Bridge audience) by convincing one of the night shift employees about a virus in their credit card system. Unfortunately I didn't tape it, so here's a brief, edited transcript from what I can remember:

    LR: Circle K, this is Larry.
    ME: Hi, this is John from Visa, did you get our fax concerning the virus?
    LR: Uhhhh, no we don't have a fax machine here.
    ME: Hmmmmmm, that's probably why you didn't get the fax. Well, did your
        manager tell you what to do about the virus?
    LR: (Meanwhile he's yelling at some kids and telling them that they're not
        allowed in the store...) I'm sorry about that, typical night at Circle K!
        No, I don't know what you're talking about.
    ME: Okay, let me explain. There's a major virus going through the Visa/Master-
        card network and you need to disconnect your credit card machine before
        the virus gets to you. So far it hasn't got to Corpus Christi but you need
        to unhook your machine before it gets to you.
    (After a bit more convincing...)
    LR: Okay, so you want me to unhook the credit card machine from the phone? ME: Yes, you have to unhook the phone lines, serial cable and power cable from the POS. And you have to take the machine and set it far away from the phone lines just to make sure because the virus is airborn. (I had watched the movie "Outbreak" the day before...)
    It ended up with him finally disconnecting the machine and setting it on the opposite counter next to the sink, away from the phone lines. The next morning we called his manager and asked, "You don't base your hiring decisions on their intelligence, eh?" And ended up getting hung up on. If you'd like to say, "hi" to Larry the Night Man, he works at the Circle K on Staples in Corpus C, TX.

    I also convinced an AM/PM to flip a certain switch on his Arcomatic (tm) that shut off his only register during a rush of customers until his manager could come to the store and reset the computer. You may be asking yourself, "What exactly are you trying to accomplish, RedBoxChiliPepper?" Well, if you figure out an answer to that question, please e-mail me with an answer ASAP.

    Be sure to shoplift the July 1995 Super Special of MAD Magazine at a news stand near you. Besides the collector O.J. Simpson pog stickers they have, there's a movie spoof of War Games called "Warped Games." Not the best movie spoof they've ever done but hey, it's War Games, dammit. Professor Falken wears a pair of fake glasses/nose/mustauch for his "new identity" and the pheds wear jackets that have "I've got my FBI on you!" printed on the backs.

    In a few weeks I'm going to be releasing a file called PLA95SUM.ZIP which is going to be a large telephone directory containing pay phones, voice mails, phone company newslines, data lines, businesses, phone company access numbers and other interesting numbers to call. It started out from PLA007.TXT but I took out the disconnected and changed numbers and added in a lot of new numbers. Still, it's lacking in size and I need a LOT of new numbers to put in there. This fone directory is going to be edited and updated quarterly so please send me your obscure numbers for me to publish and I'll try and get 'em in the first release. Now, I bring you Lokust...

    RiGHT BRiGADE - by Lokust (May 18, 1995):

    This text file has one purpose: To educate the populace on some of today's fallacies of the software "piracy" situation.

    In today's world, there is increasing security on computer networks, servers, and systems in general, but in specific, on computer software. Talk to a computer teacher and most likely they will tell you about the "evils of software piracy." You, being a dealer / end user of warez, aka "pirated" software, are meant to be guilty about the distribution and use of unauthorized copies of this software. This however, is not valid.

    I consider myself a reasonably moral person, as well as a Christian. But this does not stop me from "pirating" software. That is because it is not "piracy". This is a term created by the federal government in the early 1980's as a way to spread negative propaganda.

    Laws and the enforcement of laws against software "piracy" began in 1983, with the "Computer Act of 1983". Unfortunately however, this bill made a common mistake made by the government and our law makers- they made it illegal too late. It is a fair comparison to compare the C.A. of 1983 with the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the 1920's. Software "piracy" had already become the norm in the U.S. and around the world. But in an effort to look worldly-minded and sophisticated, the nation's law makers decided this bill could make them popular. This did not happen. I don't know who wrote the bill, but I heard they lost their next election.

    But there is another problem with the legislation passed in the US in the early 80's and the bills passed later in the respective 50 states. They assume that the copying of software causes damage to the software owner. They assumed that software owners cared about the monetary value of software. But end users rarely re-sell software, and we all know that the value of software is what we think about it. If I like a game, such as Interplay's Descent, and I have an illegal copy, but I think its worth the $50, I would, (if I had the $$) go buy it to support the authors. This does not happen in my case because I am very poor ( I had to steal my 486 fer Christ's sake, but that's a yarn for RB-002!). However I don't believe it is fair to pay $50 for some game, and found out its worth the disks it was sold on! This is an unreasonable obligation of the end user. If you were going to buy a car, you'd take it for a test drive first, right?! The same with software. I think if you are going to get a game, you should try it out before you have to dish out your (or your parents') hard earned money!

    But's there another side. What of the person, such as myself, who has a limited income and can't afford to buy to support games' authors? Simple. This person is to be supported by couriers and groups. It is unfair to deny a person enjoyment of his/her computer just because he/she is poor. That is why software "piracy" should be renamed. We are not pirates. This is software "liberation". And we are software liberators. Everyone at some point, the government included, has pirated some software. The laws are so rigid, its impossible not to. The cost required to maintain the FBI are enormous- and a fair amount of this comes from the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the computer crimes division. The government is wasting our hard-earned tax dollars on prosecuting software liberators.

    But why the fragmented system of warez groups, couriers, etc. that now swarm the U.S.? The seemingly strange system of groups that exist justt produce software to the public is exceedingly simple if you view it from the angle of politics. A Communist system to warez might be to unite all the groups under one, which might work, but the internal strife would be terrible, and complacency and lack of competition would make the quality decline. An Anarchist system to warez would have each BBS, and each person personally producing their own warez. This would mean tons of competition, but no organization. Warez would be localized. Therefore, our Capitalist system to warez is necessary. The high competition of the groups produces the best warez in the world, and the structure provides organization to make the warez universal.

                  Had to get this stuph off my mind.  But a little bout
                  me and my strange ideas.  I'm 16, I go to a Catholic
                  high school, although I'm an Episcopalian.  I consider
                  myself a phone phreak, a robber, and a software
                  liberator.  I am a staunch Republican who supports the
                  congress on all issues except these electronic act bills.
                  I am in several warez groups and I know the feeling you
                  get when you buy something that just wasn't worth it.
                  Anywayz, So I started the RiGHT BRiGADE as a means of
                  voicing my opinions of important topics such as this.
                  I run a board, but because of rising security, I don't
                  give out the #.

    I can be reached at,, or on Wombat Communications 512.883.7543. On the iRC, look for me under the name of Lokust or Locust. I am with ADR and SFD. Thanx for listening!

    LOKi aka Lokust
    [AC:512, Texas]

    Customer Name & Address - by RBCP:

    I recently started playing around a little with the CN/A numbers and compiled an extremely small list of them.

    CN/A Listing For Phone Company Use:
    214-744-9500 These two seem to cover the entire Southwestern Bell territory.
    214-745-7505 They're fully automated, give as many numbers per call as you
                 want and require a six digit pin number. Only open 9-5, though.
    612-663-1765 U.S. West. Covers western United States
    217-789-8290 Ameritech. Covers Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin.
    I was kind of surprised at all the changes that have been made to CN/A since I last played with them. They no longer give the address, just the number. And if the number is unlisted, forget it. They won't give it to you. You have to have your "supervisor" call in with his/her code and get the unlisted numbers. In MY day... well anyway, I also found that in a few states they have "public access" CN/A numbers where anyone can call in and get the name off of a number. These work sort of like a 976 or 900 number where the person using it gets billed. (Unless they know a way around that, of course...)

    In all the other CN/A files I've ever come accross I've yet to see one that shows you how to get the number yourself in case the one listed were to go dead so if any of these numbers that I've listed go out of service or you'd just like to get some CN/A numbers yourself for fun, here's how I go about doing it...

    Call up any telephone company billing office. I usually go for U.S.West (1-800 244-1111) because they seem to be well staffed and you don't have to wait forever to talk to an operator. But any billing office should work. It's probably easiest to call the one for the area you want a CN/A number on. Once you get the operator, the conversation goes something like this:

    OP: "U.S.West, may I help you?"
    ME: "Hi, could I have the CN/A number for that area?"
    OP: "The what??"
    ME: "The Customer Name & Address for the 602 (or whatever) area..."
    OP: "Oh! Could I ask who's calling?"
    ME: "This is Bill with Southwestern Bell in Dallas."
    OP: "Well, if you work for Southwestern Bell, it should be in your handbook."
    ME: "Yes, I have the number in my handbook along with my pin code but the
         number seems to have been disconnected."
    OP: "Okay, let me see here..."
    Now that's a worst-case senerio. Usually, they'll just give it to you after you tell them that you work for Bell. Most of the time they don't even know what a CN/A (or CN/L) is and you have to explain to them that they need to look in their handbook. If they refuse to give it to you, say "Thank You", hang up and call back. I've only been denied a few times.

    Also, you can ask them for a CN/A out of their area. They have a whole list of them in their manual. (The most common use for them is to find out who owns numbers that myteriously appear on a calling card victim's bill.)

    Getting A Code:

    Usually, most CN/As will be totally useless unless you have a valid code to give the CN/A lady. Codes are a little harder to get. It seems that for some reason the operators have all been warned never to give out their code to anyone. (I can't imagine why, though...) Any phone company office should have a code so you can call any of them. Easiest would probably be the billing offices. I noticed that they're rather gullible up in the North & South Dakota areas. So since I'm not going to publish the codes, of course, here's how to get them yourself. Call the billing office and...

    Conversation #1:
    OP: "Billing Operator, dis is Kay, may I help you?"
    ME: "Kay! Give me your password!"
    OP: "Alright, it's U39017-4810"
    ME: "Thank you!" (hang up)
    Unfortunately, it's not always that easy. This method hasn't worked for me
    yet so here's another way:
    Conversation #2:
    OP: "Billing Operator, how may I spank you?"
    ME: "CN/A, this is Larry. Can I help you?"
    OP: "This is the billing operator."
    ME: "Well, this is CN/A. Did you need something?"
    OP: "No, you called here, my phone rang."
    ME: "You didn't call the CN/A office?"
    OP: "No...this is the billing office in Arizona."
    ME: "Well, this is the CN/A office in Minnesota. Do you have a pin code?"
    OP: "What do you need that for? I didn't call you."
    ME: "Well, we need a valid pin for each call made to here and I need to report
         this problem to matenience." (babble on...)
    OP: "Oh, okay...well, it's xxxxxxx."
    ME: "Okay, thank you. I'll report the problem. Sorry about the trouble and
         have a good day..."
    Far fetched as it may seem, that's how I've gotten all of my pin codes. The operators are instructed not to give out their pin code to anyone but the CN/A operators so they seem to think it's okay even though you called them.

    A B C's - by Colleen Card:

    (A Parody of Dr. Seuss's A B C's)

            Big A little a, what begins with a?
            Andy, while in Austin, does an Alliance while he plays.
            Big B little b, what begins with B?
            Bloodaxe, backdoors, blast box, and blue beep.
            Big C little c, what begins with c?
            Captain Crunch cracking COSMOS     C...c...C!
            Big D little d, what begins with D?
            Draper drums out data on a digital dirictory.
            Big E little e, what begins with e?
            Engressio eats electronics    e e E.
            A, B, C, D, E, F...f
            Fiber Optics fetters in a fluffy vest.
            Big G little g    G...G...g.
            Gibota, Grey Areas, G.T.E.!
            Big H little h. Hacking in the hay!
            I went to Ho-HoCon! Hooray! Hooray!
            Big I little i   i...i...i.
            The internet is intresting to the F.B.I.
            Big J little j, what begins with J?
            Jim Bayliss in Jell-O begins that way.
            Big K little k, what begins with k?
            Kevin stealing kr3dit k4rd$. Kat, ketchup, kay.
            Big L little l, Liar, leapor, leach.
            Sylvia's got lung cancer and lives in Lawrence with Pete.
            Big M little m, what begins with m?
            Mitnick isn't mobile on an M.C.I. sin.
            Big N little n, NnN!
            Neirdorf's on that network, where when it drops you hear a pin.
            O is very useful, you use it when you say,
            "An operator's in an office rubbing oil in an obscene way!"
            ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP! Phreaking phrom a phone booth. Passwords from
            Pacific Bell. PBXing to a partyline and reading Phrack phrom jail.
            Big Q little q, what begins with that?
            The quick, queer, Quincy on his Q-modem in Tibet.
            Big R little r, Robins rubbing Roy.
            Random route ringing on a Radio Shack toy.
            Big S little s, Sprint, Southwestern Bell.
            Scanning signals at SummerCon 'til I got busted by Ma Bell.
            Ten teleconferences at telcoboxes by the trees.
            Big U little u, U! U! U!
            Unix, urine box, U.S. West underwear on my boobs!
            Big V little v, voicemail, verify.
            Virtual video with the volume too high.
            W.W.W. Whombat, wire, WATS,
            Willy wiped his woo woo on a pair of lambchops.
            X is very stupid cause it rhymes with nothing else,
            If you don't bathe regularly I'm sure that you will smell.
            Big Y little y, yelling in my ear,
            You have a very crappy phone so Go, GET OUT OF HERE!
            A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U
            V W X... Y... and...
            Big Z little z, what begins with Z?
            A zillion zip codez in a zone, my Zeos and me!

    Ode To Deter:

    The following poem was written by Martini of 618. Most of it won't make any sense unless you personally know the gimp it's about, Deter. (You might remember him from the GIF descriptions in PLA030.TXT.) Anyways, to clue you in, Deter is a dork who used Chris Tomkinson's M.C.I. calling card (supplied by Zak) from his house a few times and when Chris called him demanding to know why his number was on his bill, Deter spilled his guts. This was written on May 25, 1995 (probably while illegal substances were churning away at her brain...) Thanks, Martini!

    Calling card, calling card,
          used from my house,
    My name is Deter,
          and I look like a mouse.
    I say I'm a prep,
          but I know I'm a nerd.
    My name is Deter,
          and I talk like a bird.
    Chris Tomkinson called me
          he scared me too.
    My name is Deter,
          and I cried boo-hoo.
    What do I do?
          What do I say?
    Is this Chris guy,
          really gay?
    I got the number,
          from Roy Gerbil Zak
    My name is Deter,
          and that is that.
    What happened to my board,
          how'd I get call waiting?
    My name is Deter,
          me and Mitten's are mating.
    What do I do now?
          They all hate me.
    My name is Deter,
          rape me, Chris, rape me!
    Why is this fire,
          being thrown by Martini,
    My name is Deter,
          and I'm a big weenie.
    What do I do?
          No one's on my side.
    My name is Deter,
          and I need to hide.

    Phone Losers Of America Headline News

    Pricey Pay Phones - FCC to caller: Educate self:

    WASHINGTON - Between appointments, Mary Viar dashed to a pay phone in Hagerstown, MD to wish her daughter in Pittsburgh a happy birthday. A week later she got the bill: $21.39 for her 22-minute call. For the same amount she could have called Paris and talked for half an hour.

    "I was shocked," recalled Viar, who had never heard of Polar Communications, the company that carried the call. "But I went ahead and paid because I figured it would go against my credit." But because she felt "ripped off," Viar filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

    In the last year, the FCC has received 4,280 complaints about pay phones and hotel phones. The complaints have been increasing, and the majority invlove claims of excessive charges.

    "They are the No. 2 source of complaints from consumers," said Kathleen Wallman, the commission's top telephone regulator. The No. 1 complaint is "slamming," the unauthorized switching of people's long-distance companies.

    The commission is lookin for ways to toughen rules to protect consumers against price gouging, said Wallman, chief of the FCC's Common Carrier Bureau. Behind each pay phone in the country is a company responsible for the service, from carrying calls to providing operator assistance.

    Hundreds of companies are in this business - including the nation's three big long distance carriers, AT&T, MCI and Sprint. The smaller companies servce hundreds of thousands of phones.

    The big three, whose rates are comparable and considered low by federal regulators, are not the problem. The problem, says Wallman, is companies such as Bethesda, MD based Oncor Communications, whose rates are three to four times as high as those of the big phone companies.

    Oncor has generated 1,000 complaints to the FCC - 800 of which concerned rates. In April the FCC ordered the company to lower its charges. The agency is investigating three other companies about exorbitant rates, said Mary Beth Richards, deputy chief of the FCC's COmmon Carrier Bureau.

    People making calls from pay phones or hotel phones are charged the rate offered by the company servicing the phone - even if they have told an operator to bill their local or long-distance calling card. The only way to avoid this is to dial an 800 or 950 access code listed on the back of the calling card before dialing the number. That bypasses the pay phone or hotel phone service provider and connects directly with the usual long-distance carrier. "Consumers need to educate themselves," saud FCC Chairman, Reed Hundt.

    The commission is trying to help by distributing fact sheets to consumer groups and making the materials available on the Internet, the global computer network. The FCC estimates 3 billion calls a year are made on pay phones and hotel phones. And it estimates that people could save $280 million a year by avoiding service providers whose rates are higher than those of PLAT&T, MCI and Sprint.

    Oncor spokesman Greg Casey did not return calls seeking comment. Polar Communications, based in Manalapan, NJ would not discuss Viar's complaint because it had not seen it. But a Polar official tried to answer a question about why the company's rates are so much higher than those of the big three.

    "We're a small carrier. We just can't provide the rates that AT&T, MCI and Sprint do," said Stacey Wilk, Polar's regulatory manager.

    Companies such as Polar and Oncor are required to file "informational tariffs" providing a range of long-distance rates and associated charges to the FCC. The FCC does not approve or disapprove the rates, and they go into effect immediately, Richards said.

    Similar tariffs are filed to state regulators, who also get complaints. The FCC can take action against companies whose interstate rates are found to be "unjust and unreasonable," Richards said. The FCC can order the rates reduced, order refunds or credits, and impose fines. Since 1991, 26 companies under threat of FCC action voluntarily lowered their rates. The FCC has ordered only one company, Oncor, to reduce its charges.

    The agency saus it has helped thousands of people who have filed complaints over the years to obtain refunds. The FCC is considering making companies file specific tariffs, instead of a range of proposed interstate rates; requiring a voice message explaining rates before calls are connected; and capping interstate rates.

    The FCC also is taking a closer look at the surcharges some companies tack onto each call, Wallman said. In general, money from these surcharges goes to pay phone owners of the hotel, bar or other establishment where a public phone is located and sometimes to the company itself, which is the case with Oncor, federal regulators said, The FCC said Oncor's surcharges alone have totaled as much as $10 per call.

    Sonic Communications shutting down, facing probe over charge of 'slamming':

    AUSTIN - An Atlanta-based long distance company embroiled in legal troubles over an unethical business practice is shutting down and may leave some Texans without service, the Texas Attorney General's Office warned Thursday.

    Sonic Communications Inc. has been the source of numerous complaints filed with the Attorney General's Office by customers who say the company changed their long distance service without authorization, a practice known as "slamming" in the industry.

    Slamming often leaves consumers paying much higher rates than with their prior carrier, according to the attorney general. Under scrutiny from attorney generals' offices in several states, including Texas, California, Illinois and New York, Sonic filed for bankruptcy in April. Due to allegations of fraud and mismanagement by Sonic, the bankruptcy court appointed a trustee last week to run the company, Attorney General Dan Morales' office said.

    The service shutdown, already begun for business users, is proceeding for individual consumers, according to Morales' office. In Texas, Sonic targeted Hispanic residents in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso and McAllen.

    "Since Sonic is known to have switched consumers' long distance service without authorization, we urge consumers, especially those with Hispanic surnames, to check their latest telephone bills to see who is their long distance provider," Morales said.

    "If your long distance service is provided by Sonic Communications Inc., you may want to immediately contact a new, reputable long distance service company or your local telephone company to acquire new service," he said.

    No one answered phone calls Thursday to Sonic's office in Atlanta. Morales' office saud it is playing a role in Sonic's bankruptcy case and plans to ask for restitution to consumers, civil penalties and $400,000 owed to Texas in state sales taxes.

    One Texas lawmaker during the 1995 legislative session tried to get a bill passed to cut back on the practice of slamming. The bill by Sen. Don Henderson, R-Houston, would have required a long distance carrier to have a written letter from a consumer specifically authorizing a change of service. Violating the bill's provisions would have been a felony. The bill, however, died.

    "The slammers' lobby was fairly effective this session in making sure that bill died. The penalties may have been exorbitant and that may have helped kill it," said Tom Smith, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

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