Meigs County Foster Care Business Receives $200,000 Phone Bill


UPDATED: Monday June 18, 2012 10:39 PM

Authorities on Monday said that scammers were behind international calls that racked up nearly $200,000 in phone bills for a foster care business.

Calls were place in and out of Oasis Therapeutic Foster Care Network, which helps foster children find homes, ONN’s Denise Alex reported.

Administrator Kay Wheeler said that she thought it was a joke when she opened one of her bills. An April invoice was for $177,000. A May invoice was for $16,000.

“I was just in shock,” Wheeler said.

Calls were made to Taiwan after business hours in one evening.

Phone company Frontier Communications said that they thought the calls were tied to illegal activity.

“The fraud itself, which is illegal, is usually tied to some other illegal activity, whether it’s drug activity or international gambling,” said Dave George, general manager of Frontier.

George said that he had never seen scammers charge so much in phone calls.

Wheeler said that she was relieved that Frontier was taking care of the cost of the fraudulent calls. At first, she was asked to pay $3,000.

“I figured it up, and it would have been 20 of my kids’ school clothing – Oasis foster kids,” Wheeler said.

George said that businesses and agencies should protect their phone lines like they do their computers. Change passwords regularly.

Wheeler said that she would secure Oasis’ phone lines, Alex reported.

“I don’t want any more of this,” Wheeler said.

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