When Hackers Used My Cell Phone to Call Jamaica

Late last week and into the weekend I had my first experience with a hacker.  Thankfully, it wasn’t my email, bank or credit card accounts, but my cell phone.  That’s right, my cell phone.

While I was preparing to leave town last week I attempted to make my nightly call to my mom.  Instead of hearing my mom’s happy voice I heard a recording telling me I wasn’t authorized to make my call.  I thought it was some weird glitch, and attempted to make the phone call again.  Once again the recording answered the phone.  The main thought that rolled through my mind was maybe I didn’t pay my bill?  After I realized I had, I decided to call Sprint Customer Support to resolve the problem.  The gentleman who helped me was nice and offered good suggestions to help resolve the issue.  At this time I had no idea my phone had been hacked.  Later in the evening as I was making my way to Minneapolis my phone was working again, and I figured Sprint had corrected the problem and never called me back.

Throughout the next day my phone was receiving emails, text messages, Facebook comments and Twitter replies.  I didn’t try making a phone call until late in the afternoon and once again I was greeted by the male voice recording.  By this time I was so frustrated that I decided that if I was receiving everything but phone calls I could wait until the next day to physically take my phone to Sprint to have them correct the issue.

The next morning, before taking my phone in, I went online to double check that my bill had been paid and that’s when I discovered that my phone had been hacked.  A hacker cloned my cell phone and thought it was a brilliant idea to make $510 dollars worth of phone calls to Jamaica.  Most of the calls were made within the first day of my phone being hacked, and it only took the hacker about 5 hours to rack up that big of a bill.  Now, my biggest concern was getting the problem resolved and my bill corrected.

When I finally arrived at the Sprint store I was eager for them to fix the problem, but I after explaining the issue I was quickly greeted with blank stares and no solutions.  One rude sales representative couldn’t understand how my phone had been hacked and wrote down a number for me to call.  The irony of the situation was he gave me a number to call when I couldn’t make phone calls.  The number he gave me was to the Sprint Fraud Department, and he couldn’t tell me the departments hours of operation.  After calling the Fraud Department and listening to a recording of their office hours, which they were still open, the phone hung up on me.  So, I was back to square one.

I eventually ended up calling Sprint Customer Support and was transfer to about four different people.  Every time I gave them my information I could always tell when they looked at my call log.  The representative would stop talking, pause for a few moments and then put me on hold.  The final representative I was transferred to was extremely smart and knew exactly what had happened to my phone.  He was quick to reset everything and I was allowed to keep my number.  He even followed up with the Fraud Department to make sure the charges were removed from my bill.

In the end I was thankful it was my cell phone and not anything else.  When I asked the final support representative how I could keep this from happening again he told me there was no way because the hackers are very good at what they do.  I’m usually pretty private when it comes to the information I share, but now that I know my cell phone can get hacked it makes me wonder how safe is my privacy?  I imagine in the weeks to come I will probably go through all of my public profiles and make a few changes to my privacy settings, but for now I just thought I would share my story to make people aware that this issue can happen.

Beware of your privacy,
Elizabeth

Blogger Note: I have been a Sprint customer for almost seven years now.  Every time I have had an issue or gotten a new phone the people at Sprint have been great! This is the first time I have been treated rudely by one of their sales representatives and I plan to file a complaint with the company.  I was very thankful for the representative who fixed my phone because he was very helpful and informative.

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