OK, this is really long, but it is the documentation we've done since Saturday for our AT&T cell phone hack. If you have an AT&T account, PLEASE, if you haven't, put a passcode on it. We have no idea how these hackers got this far without our being notified during the process rather than after.
2:47 pm: My husband gets a text from AT&T: “Your authorized user was changed for the account ending in ****. Our phones say: Smart chip not provisioned MM#2” and Emergency calls only.
2:48 pm: My husband gets a second text from AT&T: Your account passcode was created for your account.
5:22 pm: My husband sees and reads the text messages and tries to use his phone, and he can’t get through. We try to test our phones, and they do not work.
5:45 pm: we call AT&T from our land line, (which thankfully we still have).
We are told by a very helpful and interested sales rep that our account code has been changed, (we actually think “created” because we could find no reference to us ever having created one...) to **** by Alexander Therepanova. He calls AT&T 51 times in two hours on 11/17. He calls once to ask about upgrading on 11/14 and twice on 11/15. Alexander upgrades a new contract with AT&T and tells AT&T that he will be going out of the country for 4 years and authorizes his nephew to run the account. Upgrades are made to the data plan. He goes to the Apple store and buys 2 Apple G4 iphones. He puts himself on as the only authorized user for 4 years – no exceptions. He cancels our SIM cards and we cannot get new SIM cards for 30 days. We are told that Alexander can continue making calls until this is resolved. We are assured that we will not have to pay for any calls or charges on this account from 11/10/12 forward. (It is now 7:15 pm)
The 30-day wait for new SIM cards does not come up again. We need to go to an AT&T store ASAP, tell them this is fraud, and tell them to give us a new SIM card. We also need to tell them to look up the GPS unit for these new phones of ours. We change our password. We checked My husband's credit scores with Experian and Transunion.
We received an AT&T email on how to check our status online. On 11/17 someone has added a 3-gig data plan and international roaming plan upgrade to both of our phone numbers.
11:15 am: We went online and checked my credit scores with Experian. We began changing passwords to our email accounts.
1:30 pm: After further conversations with AT&T Customer Service, we go to the Vallejo AT&T store. It is there that things begin to unravel.
We got our new SIM cards and our phones back up and working again, and we figured out why they hacked us. It turns out that we had run out of our two-year contract, and we were eligible for a substantial discount on a new Apple iphone. They only took over our account so that they could buy an iphone at a discount and resell it on Craigslist or Ebay. The AT&T store in Vallejo was swamped with other folks just like us. We were told that this seems to be hitting the Fairfield, Vallejo, and Davis areas. Most of the hijackers names are Russian sounding. It's a new scam from some Russian gang, we guess, or people using Russian-sounding names. The sad part is that the poor fool that buys the iphone will not be able to use it. On Tuesday morning, 11/20/12, we are going to permanently block the phones so that they can never be used. We can’t block them before Tuesday because it takes 24 – 72 hours for the phones to register with AT&T, and they can’t be blocked until they’re registered. What a pain in the keester it has been for the last 24 hours.
Anyone out there with AT&T should probably change your 4-digit pass code, and if you don't know what we’re talking about, you really should call and set one up. We don't think we ever set up a pass code, so the fraudsters just called up customer service, pretended to be my husband or me, and they were off to the races. They had us successfully blocked out of our own accounts!
We spoke with the Fraud Department and Customer Service and we are assured we will not have to pay for any charges or upgrades. We logged into our online account and were required to use our passcode. Everything looks ok. We believe we are part of this bigger scam because it plays out in that there are no new calls on our phone bill. These people wanted the hardware for resale, not our accounts. The first call to AT&T by “Alexander Therenova” came in on Wednesday, 11/14, and we found out about all this on Saturday, 11/17. The Fraud Department is closed on weekends. We think we remember being told that we could likely get new iphones like that for a heavily discounted price of $200. They sell new for a lot more than that to people who are still within in their 2-year contracts or who have lost or broken their phones. People want to have to have the latest thing. Ebay and Craigslist is a good way to sell for below market price. In some cases, but not with ours, the billing address had been changed so that if the phones were out of stock at the Apple store, they’d be sent to an address in New York; they’re hacking west coast phone numbers. (This may be a way to track them, but if they hit hard and fast enough, who knows?) There is no need to do a GPS track, as the iphones purchased through our account may still be “New in Box”.