Verizon Sues to Stop Inquiries on Customers

Bloomberg News
Thursday, November 10, 2005

Verizon Communications Inc., the largest U.S. telephone company, said it sued a Florida-based private investigative agency to stop it from trying to obtain confidential information about wireless customers.

Verizon claims that Global Information Group in Temple Terrace, Fla., made "thousands of attempts" to gather information about Verizon Wireless customers, the New York-based phone company said in a written statement.

The suit, filed Nov. 2 in a Florida state court, claims the agency "impersonated" employees of Bedminster, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless, the company said. Verizon said the court issued an order last week that temporarily prohibits Global Information from trying to contact Verizon's customers or providing customer information to third parties.

"Global Information Group is cooperating with Verizon and complying with the terms of the lawsuit," Global Information spokeswoman Allyson Von Holten said in a telephone interview. "They are absolutely investigating the claims made against them by Verizon."

The company is a so-called skip-tracing firm hired by companies to find people who have "skipped out on loans and debt," Von Holten said. "This is not a data-mining company. It is a legitimate business."

Verizon stock rose 19 cents to close yesterday at $30.85 a share. The stock price is down 24 percent this year.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company