In Your Corner: Company Victimized By Phone Fraud

By Ryan Elijah

June 22, 2012 Updated Jun 25, 2012 at 8:39 AM EDT

Fort Wayne, IN (Indiana's Newscenter) It was a phone call that caught Woolman Financial Group by surprise. Their phone company provider, EarthLink Business was calling to tell them someone had hacked into their system, ringing up thousands of dollars in charges.

"a month later we got our bill, we were just stunned, we didn't think we'd be responsible", said Becky Woolman with Woolman Financial Group.

The calls all happened over St. Patrick's Day weekend, with many going to a small African country called Sao Tome. The phone lines were hacked from an off site location to the tune of nearly $3,000.

They were told by EarthLink that they were responsible for securing the system and for the charges. Woolman's phone vendor assures them the system is secure, but criminals have advanced to where they can break into password protected systems.

Phone fraud accounts for nearly $80 billion dollars in losses each year, The Woolman's are the latest in a long line of companies to find out the hard way that the FCC offers very little protection for them.

"this is a terrible practice, when the FCC deregulated the phone companies they put the responsibility on the consumer. We don't feel it should be on on the consumer, because it's out of your control", said Woolman.

We contacted EarthLink a number of times and did get a response. They told us they're simply following those FCC regulations, they did offer the financial group of a credit of nearly 1-thousand dollars, but the company hasn't signed the acceptance form yet - still feeling they shouldn't be responsible at all.
EarthLink said "Since the phone system was not an EarthLink system, it is the customers responsibility to secure their equipment."

Woolman, and their vendor, insists the system is secure.

Imagine if your car was stolen and you were responsible for what the person then did with it. now you know how companies like Woolman Financial Group feel and there's no guarantee the same crime can't happen again.

"there's no guarantee it won't happen again next month", said Woolman.

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