T&T Warns Against Email Fraud, Phone Solicitations

Over the course of the past few weeks, a number of students and faculty at Phillips Academy have received fraudulent e-mail and voicemail messages sent from an account in the British Virgin Islands. These messages requested that the recipients call a telephone number to receive information about the sender’s credit troubles, loved ones, or potential monetary rewards for cooperation. Several of those in receipt of such messages have reported and forwarded them to the Office of Technology and Telecommunications (T&T). In the majority of the e-mail and voicemail messages, the designated number to call has an international area code that does not require the 011 country code before dialing. According to T&T, such numbers may be dangerous because the per-minute charges are not announced at the beginning of the call. The majority of the recipients of such messages who decide to call the specified number usually end up listening to a long recorded message while the telephone charges accumulate. Some of these calls can cost as much as $25 per minute. Callers are often unaware of the charges until they receive their statement. Once the calls have been completed and assessed to the caller’s account, they are generally quite difficult to remove from an invoice. In addition, in the month of November, Director of Business Services Susan Stott “received 16 email solicitations to volunteer the use of [a] bank account for the transfer of $20-30 million to the United States in exchange for…$2-3 million.” The e-mails were allegedly sent from accounts in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa. However, anyone who elected to accommodate such requests would likely discover that his or her account had been emptied by the petitioner. According to Mrs. Stott, recipients of such solicitations may report the scam to the e-mail server used by the sender. Similar e-mails were sent to various PA students and faculty members at approximately this time last year, allegedly from accounts in various African nations. According to T&T, the best way to prevent electronic and telephone fraud is to not return or place calls to unknown area codes and numbers. Such numbers can be tracked at the website Generally, recipients should not distribute their personal calling card information to anyone over the phone and should review any monthly telephone bills carefully. Many of the messages feature claims that they serve the recipients’ local phone company. However, recipients should not attempt to call 800 numbers or any other numbers provided by the senders of the e-mail and voicemail solicitations. Director of Communications Sharon Britton said, “Right now, I think kids should be savvy enough to recognize some bogus e-mail,” she said.