How to Cheat Ma Bell

Telephone Credit Card Codes


Fifth Estate # 269, February, 1976

As the profit-swollen Michigan Bell Telephone monopoly tries to gouge its captive customers more each year with unnecessary rate hikes, requests for charges for information services and 20-cent pay-phone calls, the Fifth Estate presents a small way to even the score: free long-distance calls.

The 1976 telephone credit card codes are presented here as both a public service, as we have done for the past several years, and as our way of saying “Fuck Michigan Bell” for its recent (and unsuccessful) attempt to prosecute this paper for printing telephone company information.

For you rookies, the procedure for making credit card calls is simple, but does require a knowledge of the basics.

To begin just dial the operator and make like a distinguished businessperson saying, “This is a credit card call: my number is 868-5759-083-R and I’d like to call San Francisco at 415/255-6262.” The operator puts you through and you’re in business. (You might also be in trouble since the above credit card code is that of the Detroit office of the CIA.)

Here’s the way it works: Credit card codes consist of ten digits and a letter at the end that matches the sixth digit. The first seven numbers are the phone number of the corporation that the call is billed to and the last three are a city code (Revenue Accounting Code–RAO. See list on this page). The letter at the end corresponds to the sixth digit in the following manner: 1-G, 2-U, 3-A, 4-Q, 5-R, 6-X, 7-Z, 8-L, 9-N, 0-E.

Thus if you desire to bill a call to Honeywell of Minneapolis, their number is 941-5430. Add to this the RAO code, which is 126. Then add the code letter–in this case it’s A. Result: 941-5430-126A. Here’s another one. The Detroit News number is 222-2332. Add the RAO, 083, and the 1976 letter code A. You then have 222-2332-083A.

Here’s some numbers you might remember: Wonder Bread in Boston is 893-5579-001Z; IBM in Miami is 377-2051-044R; or how about the FBI office in Detroit: 965-2323-083U. Or Chrysler world headquarters: 956-5252-083R. Use your imagination–just think who owes you.

Often the operator will ask for the city or area code that the call is billed to, so have this information ready. (Remember you’re an important executive.) It is always best to use a credit card number from the city that you are calling to, unless the corporation you’re representing has a branch office in your town.

Be sure to inform the person that you are calling of the possibility that company investigators will be checking up on the call in the future and will try to get info from them about you. People you call are in no way obligated to pay for the call or provide information to the phone company.

The best way to handle it is say, “This is a phone a lot of kids have access to,” or “Call back later, I don’t live here.” (They rarely call back.)

Further information on juicing Ma Bell can be obtained by writing TAP, 152 W. 42nd Street, Room 504, New York, NY 10036; the September 1975 Fifth Estate, or the February 1976 Yipster Times. The latter two publications are available through Ammunition Books, 4403 Second Avenue, Detroit 48201, for 25 cents each. Information for this article was taken from those publications.

Use These RAO Codes to Make Your Own Credit Card Numbers

Area Code / RAO and city

201: 072, 074, 091, 094 New Jersey

202: 032, 033 Wash. D.C.

203: 020 Hartford

206: 163 Seattle

209: 254 Stockton; 289 Fresno

212: 017, 018, 021, 023, 024 072, 074, NYC

213: 046, 182, 183, 184, 187, 332 Los Angeles

215: 041, 043 Philadelphia

216: 050 Akron; 082 Cleveland

218: 126 Duluth

301: 011 Maryland

303: 153 Colorado

305: 044 Miami

306: 137 Wyoming

308: 237 Nebraska

312: 097, 098, 234 Chicago

313: 013, 096 Michigan; 083 Detroit

304: 177 St. Louis

404: 022, 063 Georgia; 035 Atlanta

408: 293 San Jose

412: 030 Pittsburgh

414: 088 Milwaukee

415: 158 San Francisco; 187 Berkeley

416: 185 Dayton

601: 059 Mississippi

602: 065 Arizona