Yesterday was horrid.
Early Monday morning we realized we had a problem with the phone system. It would ring once but then the call would be gone. I contacted our service provider and a trouble ticket was issued.
Less than half an hour later a technician shows up. Now we all know service dudes don't show up that fast.
Come to find out he was responding to a trouble ticket started Thursday.
Excuse me? What?
Apparently someone called our telephone service provider and pretended to be an employee. This fake told the service provider that the power had been out for two hours and that we needed them to forward incoming calls to a new number. (Let me interrupt to say that the new number was an out of town cell number had anyone bothered to check.)
So for over 150 hours an unknown male had access to our incoming business calls.
All by himself.
It took several hours for us to learn why.
We deal with mortgage loan applications, credit rebuilding, real estate transactions. Any number of very personal client information. We went proactive. We had the forward reversed. We asked for a list of incoming calls. (Don't get me started on how hard it is to get that list but apparently easier than sin to add services to a line... sheeesh!)
The boss held a press conference.... News media were up in here all morning long.
You can see one of those here.
We were massively concerned for our clients and the potential for identity theft.
The good news is that our clients are probably safe.
The bad news is that WE were the ones being thefted. (Yep, I am pretty sure I just made up that word!)
Come to find out the unknown fakes were forging and cashing checks out of our business operating account. Over $100,000 in checks were written and many were deposited.
Because the banks would call our number and get the fake employee who was getting all our calls. He (OF COURSE) gave permission for the forged checks to be cashed.
The violation comes in because not only did they steal from the company I have worked for for almost 11 years.
They forged my name to the checks.
I have spent the better part of two days trying to track down information, help file complaints, gather information for timelines.
And fume over the fact that the service provider allowed this to happen. They let someone not listed on the account change and add service features and re route phone calls to an out of area number and never bothered to do any of a number of things that could have prevented this.
The main one being pick up a phone and call us to see if
1. the phones were out and
2. if we had authorized this change
Maybe even worse is the fact that they seem to spend a lot of time ignoring us, making US jump through hoops they didn't even make the felon (my personal nick name for him) jump through.
I've had to endure endless questions: are you sure that the employee who had his name used fraudulently isn't really behind all this? ( I cannot express to you how sure I am that he did NOT have anything to do with it) But really? You are going to treat me (and us) like a criminal and you let the real criminal have carte blanch access to our phone lines for over 150 hours?
We are the bad guys? Seriously??
I so don't think so and I resent the fact that you make me jump through more hoops to fix a problem you helped a felon create than you did the felon who robbed us!
It is wrong on so many levels.
But at least us going public with it has shone a light into the community and we have realized that it has happened a lot more than has ever been made public.