A fast-growing multimillion-dollar crime is selling and making illicit long-distance telephone calls. The fraud usually begins with a computer hacker who penetrates a telephone company's electronic files and extracts secret billing codes, the numbers used to determine who makes a call and who to bill for the call. The hackers then sell the code to middle men who distribute them to hustlers. The hustlers at bus, rail and air terminals seek out prospective customers at banks of pay telephones with offers of calls of unlimited duration at black-market rates. The victims are the long distance phone companies and their millions of customers who pay for the losses.
In the USA some $500 million is lost to illegal calls.