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15 Aug 2018
Dutch company receives 450,000-euro phone bill

A company in the Dutch province of North Holland received an invoice of 450,000 euros from its foreign telecom provider, after almost 500 calls were made through its switchboard with expensive premium rate numbers in India and other countries in Asia.

Fraudsters probably infected the company’s computer system and the switchboard linked up to it with the help of so-called botnets. This prompted the switchboard to make automatic calls to premium rate numbers during the weekend. Botnets are networks of malicious software robots that penetrate computer systems running on Windows.

It’s unclear whether the company must pay the hefty bill. For its part, the telecom provider must pay the client who operates the expensive premium rate numbers. Technically, the affected company is liable because it was insufficiently secured against botnets.

Fraud Help Desk has not received any other similar reports, but it cannot rule out that more companies will fall victim to these practices.