News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Druva inSync Free Trial
Druva inSync with DLP, analytics & secure file sharing.
www.druva.com/inSync-Trial
You are here: Home / Big Data / DOJ Sues AT&T for Allowing Scam
Is your endpoint data protected?
DOJ Sues AT&T for Not Taking Action Against Nigerian Scam
DOJ Sues AT&T for Not Taking Action Against Nigerian Scam
By Jennifer LeClaire / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
MARCH
23
2012


The U.S. Department of Justice is accusing AT&T of fraud. The DOJ alleges that the telecom giant knew Nigerian scammers, among others, were using a calling service it offered to deaf customers in a plot to rob American merchants.

The DOJ filed suit under the False Claims Act, saying AT&T improperly billed the Federal Communications Commission for reimbursement and received more than $16 million from the FCC to offer the IP Relay services to deaf and hearing-impaired consumers.

"Federal funding for Telecommunications Relay Services is intended to help the hearing- and speech-impaired in the United States," said Stuart Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the DOJ. "We will pursue those who seek to gain by knowingly allowing others to abuse this program."

AT&T Maintains Innocence

The DOJ complaint alleges that, out of fears that fraudulent call volume would drop after the registration deadline, AT&T knowingly adopted a non-compliant registration system that did not verify whether the user was located within the United States. The complaint further contends that AT&T continued to employ the system even with the knowledge that it facilitated use of IP Relay by fraudulent foreign callers, which accounted for up to 95 percent of AT&T's call volume.

"Taxpayers must not bear the cost of abuses of the Telecommunications Relay system," said David J. Hickton, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. "Those who misuse funds intended to benefit the hearing- and speech-impaired must be held accountable."

The U.S. complaint was filed in a lawsuit originally brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Constance Lyttle, a former communications assistant who worked in one of AT&T's IP Relay call centers.

"As the FCC is aware, it is always possible for an individual to misuse IP Relay services, just as someone can misuse the postal system or an e-mail account, but FCC rules require that we complete all calls by customers who identify themselves as disabled," said Marty Richter, a spokesman for AT&T.

Making an Example of AT&T?

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, believes the lawsuit showcases a changing attitude by the federal government when it comes to fraud. More than ever before, he said, carriers are in a unique place to see and prevent fraud -- but often they seem to sit back and take a piece of the action.

"With this move the U.S. government is effectively saying 'enough' and suggesting that these firms need to proactively address the fraudulent behavior when they become aware of it," Enderle said. He expects this suit will be followed by moves that hold the carriers to a high standard of discovery.

"Overall this shows a trend to shared responsibility for law enforcement and user protection. The government realizes it doesn't have the resources to do it alone, particularly if U.S. companies are complacent. The Department of Justice is putting a price on complacency that they hope will eliminate that behavior," Enderle said.

"It is a shame that AT&T and other firms didn't feel it necessary to be proactive in eliminating a known criminal behavior, and this serves as a reminder that the cost of not being proactive can be very high."

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Carol Ann:

Posted: 2012-03-25 @ 3:56pm PT
I find it appalling that this is going on, the complacency associated with it and my rights to privacy are being ignored. Perhaps this is how my account was invaded.

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
TOP STORIES NOW
MAY BE OF INTEREST
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there's a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know by accessing the white paper, "5 Things You Didn't Know About Cloud Backup". Access the White Paper now.
MORE IN BIG DATA
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Dairy Queen Latest Retailer To Report Hack
Known for its hot fries and soft-serve ice cream, Dairy Queen just made cyber history as the latest victim of a hack attack. The fast food chain said that customer data at some stores may be at risk.
 
Lessons from the JPMorgan Chase Cyberattack
JPMorgan Chase is investigating a likely cyberattack. The banking giant is cooperating with law enforcement, including the FBI, to understand what data hackers may have obtained.
 
Who Is the Hacker Group Lizard Squad?
Are they dangerous or just obnoxious? That’s what many are wondering about the hacker group Lizard Squad, which tweeted out a bomb threat that grounded a flight with a Sony exec aboard.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Intel Intros Lightning-Fast PC Processors
Call it extreme. Intel just took the covers off its first-ever eight-core desktop processor, which is aimed at hardcore power users who expect more than the status quo from their computers.
 
HP Previews ProLiant Gen9 Data Center Servers
Because traditional data center and server architectures are “constraints” on businesses, HP is releasing new servers aimed at faster, simpler and more cost-effective delivery of computing services.
 
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Samsung Maps Its Way with Nokia's 'Here' App for Galaxy Phones
Korean electronics giant Samsung has opted to license Here, Nokia’s mapping app -- formerly known as Nokia Maps -- for its Tizen-powered smart devices and Samsung Gear S wearable.
 
Will iPhone Finally Catch Up with NFC Mobile Payment Ability?
Apple's latest version of the iPhone may have a mobile wallet to pay for purchases with a tap of the phone. The iPhone 6 reportedly is equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology.
 
Visual Search To Shop: Gimmick or Game Changing?
Imagine using your phone to snap a photo of the cool pair of sunglasses your friend is wearing and instantly receiving a slew of information about the shades along with a link to order them.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech | Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.