Bellefontaine Examiner

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Telephone scam reported

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A local business has been referred to the Federal Communications Commission to file a complaint of more than $2,200 worth of fraudulent phone calls placed to two overseas companies between late Friday night and Saturday morning.

According to a report filed with officers of the Bellefontaine Police Department, 118 long distance phone calls totaling about 112,000 minutes were made from a business line at Universal Home Health and Hospice, 701 S. Main St., to five phone numbers in the republics of Gambia and Serbia between 11:49 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

Home health and hospice employees arrived Monday morning and found a message left by the company’s telephone provider alerting them to the suspicious activity and notifying them the calls were eventually blocked.

Investigation into the matter revealed hackers had accessed the Universal Home Health and Hospice phone system with a generic pass code that was never modified. Once in the system, they were able to set up a call forwarding feature to make the fraudulent phone calls.

Police report the business has since taken measures to shore up its phone systems. Federal alerts have been issued to this kind of telephone fraud as it is apparently common nationwide, and police are working with the business to file a formal complaint with the FCC. 

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