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Old 25-September-2004, 13:41
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silver silver is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Bournemouth, UK
Posts: 12,177
Default Ireland Cracks Down On Dialer Fraud

The government of Ireland has ordered the suspension of direct dialing access to 13 nations in an attempt to stop the fraudulent use of auto-dialing software.

Some of the countries that telephone customers will be unable to call directly include Norfork Island, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Comoros and Diego Garcia. To complete a legitimate call to these locations, customers will have to ask an operator for assistance.
An auto-dialer is software that causes a computer to dial a telephone number automatically using its modem. When used fraudulently, the dialer will install silently by exploiting any of numerous security flaws in Microsoft software. Once installed, the dialer will disable the speaker on the modem and then dial numbers in selected foreign nations.

These calls usually are very expensive, usually costing victims hundreds or even thousands of dollars. What's worse is the fact that most telephone companies, although aware of the fraud, have no wish to take appropriate action to prevent it. In many cases, your local or long distance carrier is an active participant in the scam, taking their cut of the fraudulent fees. Many carriers will refuse to remove or even reduce these charges, despite their clear knowledge of the fraudulent nature of the billing. One Canadian telephone company even violated an agreement made with the government in order to collect these fraudulent fees.
Ireland isn't the only country taking steps to deal with dialer fraud. Earlier this year, Spain arrested several people for distributing dialers that automatically called "premium" numbers within Spain. The government then took steps to make it harder to use those premium telephone numbers.

In order to access a premium telephone service in Spain, a telephone customer must request a form, sign it and return it to the telephone company. Spanish telephone companies will be required to list on the customer's bill the names of the companies using those premium phone numbers.

Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that certain companies in Spain are setting up alternative premium telephone numbers in an effort to circumvent the new law. I'll keep an eye on the situation there.

If you should fall victim to this scam in the US, my advice is to dispute the charges on your bill, in writing, to both your local and long distance carrier, the state public service commission (or its equivalent in your state) and to both the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communication Commission. This step always should be taken if you suspect a charge on your bill is due to dialer fraud.

This next piece of advice is trickier. I would advise you to not pay the fraudulent charges. If you do, you will never, ever see that money again. Pay the rest of your bill but subtract the fraudulent amount from your payment. Perhaps have an attorney put the amount into an escrow account while it is being disputed. In many cases, the telephone company will realize you are serious about not paying for fraud and will remove or substantially reduce the charges. Unfortunately, in many other cases, the telephone company will make good on their threats to disconnect your service. Do what you feel is right in this situation.
from http://www.spywareinfo.com/newslette...es/0904/23.php

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