Friday, May 17, 2013

Major phone hacking scam leads to $500,000 bill for Missouri realtor

There was a recent report on ABC of a realty business in Missouri that received phone bills one month of over $500000 for accounts it didn’t have, even from companies it didn’t have accounts with.
Verizon has its own page of the major phone scams, and they are considerable.  Here is its link

ABC News story from Diane Sawyer is available only as a video (suggest using Chrome, Safari or Firefox, not IE):

Lindsey Janus reports. The incident started with incessant calls with no one on the line. Hackers opened accounts on her number overseas in countries including Somalia.  And Melissa, the realty owner, wasn’t able to get the charges reversed until ABC News intervened, even though the carriers admitted the hacking. 
It would seem as if the phone carriers should have security systems in place able to detect unusual spikes in activity.
In 1995, I had about $300 of phone calls from Canada appear on a credit card, which ATT reversed without argument, after he card (which had not been stolen) was canceled.  I actually found out the card was compromised at a grocery store and got a call at work the next day from Merrill Lynch, issuer of the card.

Update: May 19

CNN's Clark Howard also discussed how criminals are getting paid by third party companies for "cramming services" onto phone bills.    He also recommended that smart phone owners get apps that can cause their phones to be both trackable and inoperable if stolen. 

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