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A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection to an alleged carjacking in Metairie on Saturday. Police are searching for a second teen also identified as a suspect. Antonio Marcelin, 19, has beenmore>>
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Covington, La. -- A repair man
performs a little surgery on a sewing machine at Precision Sewing Machine
Company in Covington this week. Repairs are one of several services the
small business offers.
"We sell all types of sewing and embroidery
machines, multi-needle machines. We give classes on all of it. We teach
sewing to teenagers as well as adults," said owner Sammy
Gagliano's father started the
business in 1949, on the South Shore. After Katrina, they moved and
expanded north of the lake, adding every color fabric and style you could
Gagliano told FOX 8, a big chunk
of his business is through his website www.sewingmachineoutlet.com and his toll-free number, outside of Louisiana and across the United States.
Recently, Gagliano said his business hit a road block. "I came in
and our phone lines were dead. We had a problem with the phone
lines," he said.
When he called his provider,
Charter Business Communications, he said he was told hackers had tapped into his
line. "I just figured, you know, they would take care of it and that
was it. And low and behold, about a month after that, I got a sizable bill in
the mail from them," explained Gagliano.
What was normally a $250 to $400 a
month bill had skyrocketed to $13,247.71.
A Precision Sewing employee
showed us the 21 pages of phone calls, made just about every minute to Guinea - a
country in West Africa and a long distance from Precision Sewing in Covington,
"You would think, if someone said, 'Oh, you know, you've
had fraud on your phone lines and someone hacked into it,' they would put an
end to it. But it just wasn't. It didn't stop," said a Precision Sewing
"At first, they said that it wasn't their responsibility but they would, you know, look into it," said Gagliano. He said later
Charter offered to cover only some of the charges.
"We battled them and sent
them emails and called and did everything for about a month. And when it got
down to the wire. it was a Friday evening, about probably a month ago... and
they said, 'Look, if your bill's not paid,' which was then at $7,000, 'We gonna'
cut your service off, and you're gonna lose your Internet, you're gonna lose
your phone lines,'" said Gagliano.
To prevent another interruption in
his business, Gagliano paid the $7,000. Then he turned to the FOX 8 Defenders, staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women, for help.
"At first [Charter] said, 'We'll give you a credit.' And then actually, when we got y'all involved in
it, they said, 'Okay, well... we're gonna give you back your money,'" said
Gagliano. "They did do the right thing."
Gagliano said he was told hackers had tapped his line by figuring out the password for the voicemail to his toll-free
line. A much longer password is what he said he needed.
A Charter Communications
spokeswoman tells FOX 8 that Charter is the conduit or provider for the phone
service. The business owner is responsible for their own phone system or
equipment, and she says that's where the fraud occurred in this
Charter recommends that consumers
and business owners ensure their own safeguards within their own systems.
They say passwords shouldn't be generic and easy to detect. You want
something that has no rhyme or reason.
If you have an employee who leaves
your place of business, change your password. The minute you notice
something that doesn't look normal on your bill, they suggest you report it to
your provider and law enforcement.
The FOX 8 Defenders and Volunteers
with the National Council of Jewish Women are available to take your
concerns. If you have one, call them at 1-877-670-6397.
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Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:50 AM EDT2014-07-29 09:50:38 GMT
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