NeighborWorks Columbus victim of $70,000 toll fraud

NeighborWorks Columbus victim of toll fraud
Published: Jul. 1, 2013 at 6:20 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2013 at 4:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - NeighborWorks Columbus announced Monday that they are the latest victim of toll-fraud.

Late Friday, an unidentified male portraying as an employee contacted the organization's phone service provider to change account information and forwarded calls to a 678 area code number.

NeighborWorks Columbus CEO Cathy Williams was shocked to find out that the non-profit housing assistance company was hit with a phone scam that has already cost them over $70,000 in losses and possibly jeopardizing private information of their clients.

"They are vulnerable right now to things like identity theft or scamming and so its critical that the public understands if they called in here over the weekend they need to call back now and let us know so we can get them through this," Williams said.

Williams says they first noticed something was up when they were not getting any incoming phone calls. She says they quickly called their service provider. In the meantime, she attempted to make a call from another line.

"Somebody actually answered the phone and said NeighborWorks and I'm like who is this a they hung up so we immediately knew something was wrong" Williams said.

The company's phone lines were hijacked Thursday afternoon so anyone who called the offices from that point until Monday at 9AM, they were not speaking with NeighborWorks; instead forwarded to a man posing as an employee who verified fake checks, stealing thousand from the company.

Sergeant Karen Gaskins with Columbus Police says cases like these are growing throughout the U.S. but are not common in the Columbus area... she suggests strong security systems to prevent toll fraud.

We talk about good strong passwords and access codes for anything on our accounts... We need to have good strong passwords...things like 1,2,3,4 is just not a good strong password to put on any type of account.

If you or anyone that you know could possibly be a victim of toll fraud you are asked to call 706-324-4663

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