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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Jan. 23, 2012
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

PUC urges consumers to protect wireless accounts

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has learned of incidents involving fraudulent access of private wireless phone accounts and urges consumers to apply additional security measures to protect their accounts.

Consumers have relayed to the PUC incidents of their wireless phone accounts being accessed by unauthorized persons from outside of South Dakota who have fraudulently used the accounts to acquire new devices. The cost of the devices is shown as a charge to the rightful account owner. These consumers have worked with their wireless phone provider to report the incidents, correct the billing charges and change personal identification numbers associated with accounts. The fraudulent activity is occurring predominantly on accounts that use the last four digits of the owner's Social Security number as identification. In several cases discussed with the PUC, the consumer was not aware their Social Security number was stored with their wireless phone account.

The PUC encourages all consumers to closely monitor their personal wireless accounts and immediately report any unusual activity to their wireless provider. Additionally, consumers should request their Social Security number not be used to identify their account and request a new personal identification number or password if it is. Consumers can contact their wireless provider online, visit their provider's local retail store or activate password protection from their wireless device.

Consumers may request assistance from the PUC by calling 1-800-332-1782 or emailing