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Is 3rd-party calling occurring on my residential VoIP account?

My home telephone account is VoIP. A few months ago, I logged on and discovered some very unusual patterns of calls on my account. I did some research, and it appears that some type of 3rd-party calling may have been created in connection with the "auto attendant."

Unfortunately, when I call my provider to inquire, the technicians have no idea what the auto attendant is. When I do a search on their Web page, nothing comes up for "auto attendant." What else can I do to determine if 3rd-party calling has been used in connection with my account?

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An Automated Attendant (AA) is typically used in a business environment to replace the functions of a live operator. If you've ever called into a business and heard an automated voice that says something similar to "Welcome to Company XYZ. For Sales, press 1…" then you're interacting with an automated attendant. For residential VoIP service, it is very unlikely that any Automated Attendant is in use.

When people without VoIP service have calls on their phone bill that they do not understand, they call the support staff at the phone company and point out which calls are questionable or in dispute. It makes the most sense for you to take this approach with the support staff of your VoIP service. You should indicate exactly which calls are in dispute, and ask them why those calls are there. They will then likely be able to research the problem and give you a definitive answer.

This was first published in March 2006

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