AT&T Won't Pursue Hacker Phone Bill

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IPSWICH, Mass., (UPI) — AT&T Monday decided not to pursue a phone bill for nearly $900,000 run up on a Massachusetts company’s phone system by hackers.

Michael Smith, owner of Todd Tool and Abrasive Systems in Ipswich, said his phone carrier, Verizon, noticed $260,000 worth of international calls being made on his company’s system in September 2009 and the phone company wrote off the bill, the Salem News reported Monday.

However, Smith said the hackers then used a “dial around” long distance code to make a further $891,470 worth of international calls to Somalia in four days using AT&T, which charged $22 per minute for the calls.

Smith said AT&T acknowledged the calls were fraudulent, but initially insisted he pay the bill, filing suit for $1.15 million, including the call charges and interest on the bill, before deciding against pursuing the issue.

“We’re sympathetic to the situation and under these circumstances we’ve decided to not pursue the claims,” an AT&T representative said Monday.

Smith said he spent $30,000 fighting the bill and had worried about the future of his company, his 14 employees and their families.

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