Ever Have Nightmares Someone Could Be Charging Phone Calls In Your Name And Number?

This morning, my mother was in the process of paying her bills when she noticed an extra $50 tacked on to her home-line phone bill. The phone company told her to contact Johns Hopkins Hospital, where the billed calls had been charged to her number. When she contacted the hospital, she was told that someone claiming to be a family member had charged calls to her number while staying there recently.

A family member? Who in the family had been in the hospital? No one we knew of, and we have a pretty tight knit family. Something happens and everyone knows about it within an hour. Even so, how was someone other than her or my father allowed to use that number for billing purposes?

If it really was a family member, it was someone with my mother’s maiden name, under which she is listed in the phone book. We have a suspect in mind, but no other evidence at this time because the hospital refused to give the name of the person falsely using my mom’s phone number.

I was shocked. One, how is this legal — letting people charge calls against any number they choose? Two, how are we supposed to stop fraud like this if we don’t have a name to press charges against?

Even though they agreed to remove the bill, I frown upon Johns Hopkins Hospital for their initial failure to protect my mother’s credit. There should be a better method of charging someone’s calls — not using a phone number that could belong to anyone. How about insisting on a charge card with proper ID?

How many other people have had this happen? How many of them actually caught on to the problem? How many other crooks will continue to use this to avoid paying out of their own pocket?!


  1. Sandy says

    This happened to me many years ago. At least 15? So it has been going on for a long time. After it happened the phone company credited our account for the amount and then but a block on our account so that no one could charge calls to it. I don’t think I put that block on the account when we moved and I have no idea if it carried over. I’ll have to call and check, thanks for reminding me!

    It didn’t happen to us at a hospital, it isn’t like you need the hospital to allow it. It happened to us from a private residence. I don’t know if the phone company ever prosecuted, but they had to have an idea who did it. It had to be someone who used the phone in that residence.

  2. vietnam vet says

    Sandy private residence’s. were particularly vulnerable to un authorized use of telephone services,prior to the advent of cell phone’s. the out side terminal box can be easely connected too.

    A vacant house all the better. the world is at your finger tip’s, at the expense of the Home owener renter etc. it was a common practice for druggies doing there ”thing”

  3. RichieC says

    In the mid 80’s someone got my calling card #. By the next day it was cut off for unusual activity and there was 3000 dollars of billing on it to south America. It was an inside job. In china town (NY) you can regularly see people lined up at night near a pay phone with a man next to the phone. This is at late night early morning hours. The use of stolen credit cards or calling cards to make calls for free that they than charge immigrants, (legal or illegal), for is what they are doing.

    Just a few years ago In HdG a woman and her daughter got ahold of both mine and my wife’s credit card #’s and waited a month to use them. We made a case and the phone co didn’t cooperate at first. We finally brow beat the phone co to spit up the records under threat of having to come to court themselves and the woman is now a felon and has spent time in jail…we got our money back…and all was made right.

    Go Dagger !