August 9, 2005
CLEVELAND -- Consumers are now accustomed to protecting their
computers from viruses, pop-up ads, spyware and identity theft.
But now, hackers are making a new effort to hit people where it hurts
-- the wallet.
NewsChannel5 Consumer Specialist John Matarese reported that scam
artists are using a virus to hijack modems and make expensive, long
distance telephone calls to other countries.
It happened to Richard Fahrenbruck, who said he found a $68 charge on
his phone for a 37-minute call to New Guinea.
Fahrenbruck said the charge was made by a firm called USBI.
The Indiana Consumer Counselor's Office has just requested an
investigation into USBI and five similar billing companies.
The agency said the companies are allowing the modem hijacking, while
the company said it isn't doing anything wrong.
USBI did agree to remove the charge from Fahrenbruck's bill. The
family said they plan to check their computer for viruses.
Matarese said that consumers should contact their phone company and
the third party billing company immediately if this happens to them.
He added that consumers should be prepared for a fight as they charges
might not be automatically removed.
Copyright 2005 by NewsNet5.
Sept 16-18th, 2005
San Diego, California