Cyber crime in its many and varied forms has become a standard tool for fraudsters around the world.
Countless people have fallen victim to hi-tech scams, sometimes unaware they are a victim.
Now police are investigating a ‘first’ for this area after a Wentworth Falls family has been stung by a new kind of fraud after students at a Lithgow secondary school accessed their daughter’s phone and transferred credit to the students’ friends.
The mother of the girl, who wished not to be named, said the family had purchased an iPhone for their daughter with an unlimited credit limit.
Their daughter subsequently was loaning her iPhone to her friends so they could text and use the phone to ring other friends.
“We got the bill for the phone and it was a few hundred dollars more than we expected.
“When we looked at it we found that this schoolgirl and her other friends had been downloading our credit and passing it on to their friends,” the mother said.
The students used a new system called Credit Me To You (crme2u) which allows people to transfer their phone credit from one mobile to another on the same carrier.
While the students were using the phone when they were sending the credit, people are also able to take credit using a bluetooth device if they know the information they need.
The Credit Me To You service was established to assist people out of credit and needing access to their phone service in an emergency.
With the friends’ phone numbers on their bill the family were able to contact the parents of the student hackers.
They were shocked when only one parent agreed to pay them back the money their child had stolen.
“The other parents said it was our problem with Telstra and they weren’t worrying about it.
“They said we should just take it up with Telstra,” she said.
“But it comes up on our bill as extra services with these kids’ phone numbers next to the service.”
The mother said the students had also been posting messages via their Facebook account advising all and sundry they too could ‘score free credit’ if others wanted it.
“It is a new type of scamming and the police were very interested when we contacted them,” the mother said.
The family contacted Katoomba Police after the parents refused to pay them back and inquiries could lead to charges being laid.
The incident provides a timely reminder of the many warnings which have been issued about the security of personal phones and not lending them freely to other people.
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