June 13, 2012
The not-for-profit CareFlight Group Queensland has been targeted by professional hackers who illegally penetrated the organisation’s phone system over the long weekend and ran up $16,000 worth of phone calls.
The group described it as a “devastating blow” to its fundraising efforts.
A spokesman told southburnett.com.au that at this stage the phone company had not offered to waive the bill.
Federal Police suspect the hackers were based overseas but this hadn’t been confirmed.
“I have been told there was a similar case in Brisbane,” the spokesman said.
CareFlight CEO Ashley van de Velde said this was the last thing the group needed as CareFlight relies on donations for almost half its funding.
He said the perpetrators gained access to CareFlight’s telephone account via the organisation’s voicemail system and made international phone calls totaling $16,000 over a 72 hour period.
“These callous criminals have affected the entire community we serve by creating a such a cruel expense for our charity,” Mr van de Velde said.
The organisation’s rescue helicopter service, RACQ CareFlight, goes to the aid of more than 450 people every year with each mission costing in excess of $12,000.
“Air medical rescue is a costly operation, but it is an invaluable service that saves lives on a regular basis,” he said.
“We are constantly contacted by families who are so appreciative of the care we have given a loved one and these people are going to be just as devastated when they hear that we have been targeted by thieves.”
Details on how to donate to RACQ CareFlight’s Winter Appeal can be found on the CareFlight website.