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Thieves run up 18K phone bill in 3 hours

Austrian student Andre Hammerer, 22, ended up with a 18,000 EUR bill in just three hours after his mobile phone was stolen in a disco in the city of Barcelona, in the Catalonia region of Spain, and then the SIM card was duplicated on a computer so that hundreds of high cost telephone calls could be made at the same time.

According to Austrian police who are investigating the incident the thief had used a so-called SIM-Box-Programm that uses a computer to build hundreds of connections at the same time using one card.

Austrian telephone company A1 cancelled the SIM card when they realised that something was wrong and say it was only hours later that the card had been registered by its owner as having been stolen along with the phone.

The student meanwhile is refusing to pay saying that as he had not made the calls he should not be liable for the debt.

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