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AT&T fraudsters in PH nabbed

/ 03:18 PM August 14, 2014

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MANILA, Philippines—Anti-cybercrime police arrested on Wednesday six adults and three minors, for hacking American telecommunication company AT&T, causing a $24-million loss from the company and its clients since 2011.

Three teams from the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) nabbed two female and seven male hackers in separate areas in Luzon, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) said on Thursday.

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The adults arrested were Rosendo Catungal and Lani Diaz in Tondo, Manila, Rommie Mondido in Longos, Malabon, Elmer and Liezel Feolog ‎in Valenzuela City and Allan Villacrusis in Angono, Rizal, Senior Inspector Jhoanna Fabro, PNP ACG spokesperson, told INQUIRER.net.

The three minor suspects have been turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development ‎(DSWD), said Fabro.‎

In a statement, Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, PNP ACG chief, said the operation came after the AT&T ‘s Global Fraud Management Organization manager Mark Zmigrodski filed a complaint seeking police investigation on the illegal activity.

In the complaint filed by Zmigrodski, he said that in February 2011, AT&T monitored a “large amount of unauthorized calling activity originating from the Philippines.”

The company found that the calling activities ‎were attempts to hack United States-based business telephone systems called Private Branch Exchanges or PBXs owned by AT&T clients.

‎”Consequently, he (Zmigrodski) was able to prove and gather evidence of the intrusions over the AT&T long distance network perpetrated by an organized ring of several persons who have conspired to hack into PBX’s and use those PBX numbers as unauthorized access devices resulting in a significant loss to AT&T and its clients,” Sosa explained in the statement.‎

From their landline or mobile phone, the hackers make outbound call to international toll-free numbers in US.

“The pattern of multiple calls with hacked PBX’s connected to their home phone lines provides probable cause that fraud is occurring from that residence,” Sosa said.

He added that the hackers’ home numbers led the police in identifying the‎ them.

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Seized from them were desktop computers, telephone sets, routers, assorted cellphones, assorted documents, laptops, modems, assorted digital storage, digital cameras, assorted identification cards, ATM cards, and printers.

Sosa said the suspects will be charged with the violation of Republic Act 8484 or the Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998.

Meanwhile, Villacrusis will be slapped with a separate case for violating Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2012 while a violation of Comprehensive Law of Firearms and Ammunition case will be filed against Mondido.

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