Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Victims of Telephone Line Fraudsters Get a [Pounds Sterling]25,000 Bill from BT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Victims of Telephone Line Fraudsters Get a [Pounds Sterling]25,000 Bill from BT

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK MCGOWAN

FRAUDSTERS who tapped into the switchboard of a London firm of surveyors used the telephone lines to make more than pound sterling25,000 worth of calls abroad.

Baker Wilkins is the latest victim of a scam known as dial-through fraud - and now it faces legal action from BT after being told it is responsible for the calls.

In many cases, the perpetrators of the crime make vast amounts of money by setting up illegal phone cabins and offer their customers cut-price calls overseas.

Criminals such as drug dealers who want to make untraceable calls have also used the scam, which usually involves manipulating voicemail systems common to thousands of switchboards, to get an outside line.

Baker Wilkins senior partner John Vint was horrified when the scale of the fraud was discovered. He said: "It started with a relatively small amount - an extra pound sterling500 - which we noticed on our bill for November.

Then it started going through the roof."

BT has told him better security measures should have been in place at the Wimbledon based business. "BT have said we are totally responsible for the bill, and if payment is not received, they will sue us for the money," Mr Vint said. "BT won't enter into discussions with us.

They won't even conduct their own check."

The phone system at Baker Wilkins has been examined by an independent expert, who found nothing amiss. He claimed an unscrupulous employee at BT could be to blame, Mr Vint added.

BT denies this.

A spokeswoman for BT said the company had been in contact with Baker Wilkins since the fraudulent calls had been "proactively noted" by BT. "Mr Vint is incorrect to allege that BT will not conduct its own check - we have completed a line security investigation and found no evidence of misuse on the BT side of the network," she said. …

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