May 19th, 2002, 09:11 AM
Net-fraud bill wiped but victim hacked off.
Six months after a teenage hacker racked up $650 on her account, Mandy Corderoy has won her fight to have the bill wiped.
Mrs Corderoy says she is relieved to be free of the Telecom Xtra bill.
But she says her case highlights the dangers of internet fraud and the poor procedures and policies of Xtra.
The Wainuiomata woman was among about 100 victims of a teenage hacker ring operating in Wellington's eastern suburbs in October and November last year.
In December, police arrested the 17-year-old ringleader, who was granted diversion. Four other youths were referred to police Youth Aid.
Mrs Corderoy said she became suspicious when she received a larger-than-normal bill in October for an account recently downgraded to a few hours a week.
Online, her account showed several hundred dollars for additional internet use that she had yet to be billed for.
She contacted Xtra and changed her username and password, but when the additional use continued to show up, she closed the account and went to the police.
According to Mrs Corderoy, Xtra said that protecting her computer was her responsibility and that she would be liable for the $650 bill until she got a "positive prosecution" against the culprit.
Xtra spokesman Matt Bostwick said the bill was wiped once Xtra received confirmation this week that the police had prosecuted the offenders and that a reparation agreement had been reached.
He said that out of 400,000 customers there were only ever a "handful" of internet fraud cases.
Mrs Corderoy said she could have paid the bill if forced to, "but there are other people out there who can't. They may not be of the personality to take on a fight like this or have the skills".
"I thought it would be like the bank. If fraud is detected, then charges relating to that are wiped, but this ISP [internet service provider] does not want to know."
She said everyone she spoke to at Xtra seemed to say different things.
"They seemed to have no real policy on internet fraud at all.
"A lot of people probably just don't know where they stand."
May 19th, 2002, 11:04 AM
this goes to show u.... ISPs are as evil as Tech Service lines
[shadow]i have a herd of 1337 sheep[/shadow]
Worth should be judged on quality... Not apperance... Anyone can sell you **** inside a pretty box.. The only real gift then is the box..