NEWS

Hacked phone lines rack up bill of more than $7,000

03/17/2015 06:41 EDT | Updated 05/17/2015 05:12 EDT
A small Ontario company says it was billed more than $7,000 after its phone lines were hacked and used to make hundreds of calls from Estonia. 

Gadra Enterprises, a machine-tool supply company in Niagara-on-the-Lake, relies on its phone lines for much of its import business. But in October someone hacked into its system and racked up thousands of dollars worth of long-distance calls. 

Bell Canada called to say it was cutting off Gadra's long-distance service and starting an investigation, according to Gadra's Toscha Traboulay. 

"They are the ones who saw the fraudulent, suspicious activity going on in the account but it took them until Monday morning to actually halt any long-distance phone calls," Traboulay told CBC News. 

Four months later, Gadra got a bill for $7,299.83. 

Traboulay says she thinks Bell should have acted faster to prevent the fraudulent calls, and should offer fraud protection similar to that of credit card companies. 

"How come you don't have any sort of fraudulent protection program in place to say 'Whoa, your bill is usually about $500 but now somebody's making phone calls over $7,000 to one country?" she said. 

Experts say cases like this are rare, because carriers monitor unusual activity on phone lines, and should lead to a refund. 

"If [Gadra] can prove to the carrier that those calls were not made by them, then the carrier, Bell in this case, should refund in full all the charges," said industry expert Rob Benchetrit.

Gadra paid the bill after Bell said it would cut off the company's service, Traboulay said. 

Bell Canada did not return calls for comment on this story. 

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