Helmut Boehn, seen here with wife Linda, was the victim of hackers who ran up a $17,000 bill on his credit card. (Wagnerhills.com/file photo)

Co-founder of Wagner Hills rehab centre in Langley falls victim to phone hacker

Helmut Boehm is speaking out to alert other possible victims

If your smart phone suddenly stops working, and you learn you account has been mysteriously switched to a different provider without your permission, a phone hacker is likely responsible, Aldergrove resident Helmut Boehm warns.

Boehm, the retired co-founder of the Wagner Hills Farm Society rehabilitation centre, said the first clue something was wrong with his phone came about a week ago, when it shut down with no warning.

“No email, no calls, no nothing,” a puzzled Boehm discovered.

“My phone just stopped working.”

One day later, Boehm learned that someone had managed to access his VISA credit card and run up $17,000 in charges.

“They started with a parking machine in Montreal,” he related.

“I haven’t been to Montreal in years.”

After successfully using the car in the parking meter, the scammer or scammers then upped the ante, ultimately spending as much as $3,00 on jewelry and another $4,000 on fashion items.

As it turned out, Boehm’s account had been switched without his permission from his existing provider of 20 years to another, legitimate company, without his permission.

The person or persons responsible was then able to hack into his phone.

Somehow, they were able to get around his password protection.

When Boehm contacted the new service provider, he was told that his account had been “inappropriately changed.”

It has been changed back, and he has regained his original phone number, effective on the weekend.

Boehm’s credit card company has cancelled the card and will be issuing him a new one, and he’s been told he won’t be liable for the fraudulent billings.

All things considered, it turned out well, Boehm observed, but it was “inconvenient” to be without a phone for a week.

He decided to go public to let people know that, if they experience a similar sort of switching of providers , to check their bank and credit card accounts.

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Boehm became Executive Director of Wagner Hills Farm Society in Langley in September of 1981 when he moved from Alberta to the 45-acre farm in northeast Langley.

Over the years since then, he has counselled and supported thousands of men who arrived from all over Canada and the US seeking healing from drug, alcohol, gambling and sexual addictions.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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