Calling Long Distance on Ma Bell

1977 credit card codes


Fifth Estate # 280, February 1977

When the voice on the phone announced himself as Alexander Graham Bell calling from the Yipster Times newspaper in New York, we knew the Yippies had done it again—snatched the new long distance credit card codes almost as soon as Ma Bell put them out.

The publication of the secret codes has been an annual event in the Fifth Estate as a small way the captive customers of profit-swollen Bell can even the score a bit. Since last February when we published the 1976 codes, the Michigan Public Service Commission has caved into Bell requests for a multi-million dollar rate hike and the upping of pay-phone calls to 20 cents—both unnecessary other than to fatten the company’s profit margins.

All the while Bell has cooperated with innumerable federal and local police agencies in the installation of thousands of illegal wire taps to the extent that their costs in that area far exceed all of its losses from long-distance cheating. Further relying on the state, Bell has initiated numerous prosecutions against individuals and publications (including an unsuccessful one against this paper in August 1975) in an attempt to enforce its government protected monopoly over telephone communications.

Long Distance Dialing Made Easy (& Free)

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 226-4469-083-0 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 number 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 seventh digit. The first seven numbers are the phone number of the corporation that the call is being billed to and the last three are a city code (Revenue Account Code—RAO. See list on page 14.) The letter at the end corresponds to the seventh digit in the following manner: 1-L, 2-D, 3-W, 4-R, 5-V, 6-Z, 7-H, 8-A, 9-Q, 0-M.

Thus if you desire to bill a call to the Honeywell corporation of Minneapolis, their number is 9415430. Add to this the RAO code which is 126. Then add the code letter—in this case it’s M. Result: 941-5430-126-M. Here’s another one. The Detroit News number is 222-2332. Add the RAO, 083, and the 1977 letter code D. You then have 222-2332083-D.

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, don’t live here.” (They rarely call back.)

The information, although contained within obtainable Bell publications, will appear in the next issue of the Yipster Times, P.O. Box 392, Canal St. Sta., New York, N Y 10012, along with a list of 500 phone numbers of major corporations, government agencies and religious organizations such as that of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Their current issue contains information and photographs of how to install the highly illegal “black box” which allows you to receive free incoming long-distance calls.

Other phone freak information is available from TAP, 152 W. 42nd St., Rm. 504, N.Y., N.Y. 10036 and the June 1972 issue of Ramparts Magazine available at the Detroit Public Library.

Remember what it says on your phone bill: “Happiness Is a Long Distance Call”—especially when it’s free!

Use These RAO Codes to Make Your Own Credit Card Numbers

A.C. — RAO — City/State

201: 072, 074, 091, 094 NJ

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