Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A phone hacking ring – with possible connections to Al Qaeda and Syracuse – has infiltrated numerous small businesses’ phone lines in New York, according to Senator Chuck Schumer.
Schumer’s office says the hackers cost dozens of businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars and they're still at-large.
According to Schumer, the hackers are using New Yorkers' phone systems to make expensive overseas calls to Somalia - and potentially Al Qaeda cell phones in that country.
The Senator spoke in Syracuse on Monday to urge the FCC to deal with the issue and to call on the telecommunications industry to examine their policies related to detecting and preventing hackers from generating charges on small businesses’ accounts.
"The telecom has to both be better at detecting the fraud and pick the cost when they fail to detect it because it's certainly not the small business' fault," Schumer said.
The Senator’s office noted that Schumer is warning Syracuse businesses that they are vulnerable to these hackers and will be responsible for charges they rack up on the businesses’ lines.
According to the Senator's office, an Albany-based business intended to expand to Syracuse but could not because of costs incurred by the scam.
The Senator says the company was charged $150,000 for roughly 9,000 calls to Somalia.
The Senator said businesses should block international calling if they do not use it, change their voicemail passwords often, and keep a close eye on their bills for any unwarranted charges.