Hinsdale Church Off The Hook For $27,000 Phone Bill

HINSDALE, Ill. (CBS) — A Hinsdale church will not be responsible for thousands of dollars of international calls after all.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, the Rev. Edward Searl, pastor of the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale at 17 W. Maple St. in the southwest suburb, says he is “tremendously relieved.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

Needless to say, the $27,000 phone bill that came to the church was quite a surprise, Searl said.

“Our regular phone bill is something along the lines of $3-400 a month,” Searl said.

But thousands of two-minute calls to Libya racked up the five-figure bill, after the church’s telephone system was compromised.

Searl says he has since learned that several people have fallen victim to similar scams.

“This is not such an uncommon thing,” Searl said. “I had quite a few calls and e-mails from other businesses that had had their call systems invaded like this.”

AT&T says it did determine the calls were fraudulent, and will credit the church with the amount. The phone company is still trying to find out the motive for the crime, and how it all happened.

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