PAC Numbers Will Increase From Five to Seven Digits
Beginning next year, students wishing to make phone calls outside Harvard will have to enter a seven digit personal access code (PAC) instead of the current five digit number.
In mailings to students last week and this week, the Harvard Telephone office announced the new policy, which officials said was designed to reduce misdialings of PAC numbers.
"We have probably about 50 instances per month of students that notify us that they have a call on their account that they didn't make," said Jack C.Wise, the client services manager at the Office for Information and Technology, who works with the Harvard student phone office.
Wise said the incorrect charges on phone bills are "almost always the result of a misdialed PAC code."
"We rarely see a deliberate attempt to defraud the system," he said.
Wise said he checked with other universities to see how they dealt with misdialed PAC codes, and found that they used codes with six to 13 digits.
"What we wanted to do is make it as convenient for the student as possible, so we're changing it from five to seven digits," he said.
Returning students will merely add 77 onto their current five digit PAC code, Wise said. Incoming students will receive fully random seven digit numbers.
"With the turnover that we have here every year with the new classes coming in and out, students will change their codes over the years." Wise said.
In four years, the PAC codes will be fully random seven digit numbers and Harvard will have fewer misdialings.
Wise said he thinks the change will be more convenient for students despite the longer PAC codes.
"I think overall it will definitely be more convenient in the long run because students won't have these calls appear on their bills, Wise said. The Crimson Staff AWARDS
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