Facing crime, American Samoa girl flees cellphone bill in Cali
A 16-year-old girl is reportedly fleeing the country after being charged with grand theft for making international calls using a Half Moon Bay man’s cellphone.
The girl, originally from American Samoa, had recently moved to the United States to live with her aunt in East Palo Alto. She would occasionally go along when her aunt went to work as a caretaker for Half Moon Bay resident Norman Wycke.
While at Wycke’s house, the girl reportedly used his cell phone to make a series of expensive calls to the South Pacific. She later reportedly admitted to making the calls after Wycke saw $7,300 in international calls on his phone bill.
Wycke says that Verizon collections agents have been calling him continuously to ask him to pay the bill. They have not been sympathetic when he tries to explain that the calls were made by someone else.
Contacted by the Review, Verizon representatives say they can’t share specifics about their customers’ accounts.
As a man with ongoing medical conditions living on a fixed income, Wycke says he is unable to pay the $7,300 bill. More importantly, he believes it shouldn’t be his responsibility in the first place. He never spent more than $100 a month in phone bills, so he is surprised that his phone carrier didn’t find it suspicious that he was making a sudden spree of costly calls overseas.
“It’s not my bill, so I’m not going to pay it,” he said. “You would think that the fraud department at Verizon would pick this up.”