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Consumer News Release

For immediate release -- Thursday, December 30, 1999.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699

Warning: "Y2K readiness survey" that asks for fax-reply to 900-number

DES MOINES-- Attorney General Tom Miller advised Iowa businesses not to respond to a so-called "Y2K readiness survey" that asks them to fax their reply to a 900-number.

"Remember, you pay whenever you make a 900-number call," Miller said. "We doubt that this is an authentic and useful survey. The fine print mentions a cost of $8.48, but it could well cost a business more than that."

Miller said his office was alerted to the "survey" by Rep. Dan Boddicker of Tipton. Boddicker works for HWH Corporation, a manufacturing firm that received a fax titled as an "URGENT REQUEST" for Year 2000 readiness information.

The fax is labeled as coming from the "Survey Information Service," with no address or other identifying information. The location of the 900-number has not been determined.

Miller said a few phrases in the "survey" use awkward English that hint the survey may have come from outside the U.S. "Off-shore 900-number operations in other countries are much less regulated and more prone to abuse than U.S. 900-numbers," he said. "That's why we think this one could end up costing much more than $8.48 mentioned in the fine print."

"So far, we have received very few other consumer complaints related to Y2K," Miller noted. "Our top consumer protection advice is to not let anyone persuade you to withdraw large amounts of money or give them your personal financial information because of Y2K concerns. We think consumers are pretty well-informed about this and other possible Y2K scams."

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