A Xmas Present for my Dad

Discussion in 'The Front Room' started by xane, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. xane

    xane Fledgling Freddie

    I've just come back from visiting my dad, and he told me of a nice present he got from British Telecom, namely a £400 phone bill.

    The excess was due to premuim rate numbers costing £1/minute that had been dialled instead of his regular metered 0845 ISP number for the last month or so.

    About a month ago he must have inadvertantly clicked on something which then replaced his dialler, each day a new 0909 premium rate number would be dialled instead of his ISP, or he was calling his ISP and a trojan was then dropping the line and redialling, he was only advised about this by BT who phoned him up to confirm he was calling all these numbers.

    My suspicions were alerted when, after BT's call, they advised him to block premium rate services, shortly afterwards his PC started to crash and now Windows cannot be booted, even in safe mode. The trojan obviously wiping out its tracks.

    My father is 76, has a pacemaker, and had a prostate operation a few years ago, you can take my word for it he does not actively seek out pr0n or warez sites. In any case, why would some dial a different number every day and pay £1/minute to use the internet when there is host of competitive ISPs out there ?

    A quick call to ICSTIS, the premium rate phoneline watchdog confirmed the numbers as "adult" services, although they are actually offering what seems like regular ISP dial-ups. I'd guess the trojan put on his PC was from another company who takes subscription from "adult" services to scroll through their numbers.

    One of the companies is based in San Marino, to think that BT let this go through without question is beyond me, the whole premium rate number thing needs to be completely revised, it should be blocked by default and be "opt in" instead, that would eliminate these scams overnight.

    Unfortunately its a scam my dad will have to pay for, his PC is inactive for now, until I dig out the cache, match it up to the itemised bill, and find all these bastards, but for now I can only advise the following to any of you who have "computer illiterate" relations or friends who you help:

    1. They should immediately block all premium rate numbers, call 150 for BT customer services, this is free.

    2. Make sure they are keeping a virus checker and spyware scanner up to date and run it at regular intervals, this was my big failing with my dad.

    3. Switch to an unmetered account wherever possible.

    If anyone has any advice I am all ears, plase be aware I have already called the police and despite being an obvious scam there is in fact little they can do about it.

  2. fatbusinessman

    fatbusinessman Fledgling Freddie

    Eek :(

    *runs Spybot*
  3. leggy

    leggy Probably Scottish

    Thanks for the warning. It's a shame it's always the nice (innocent) ones who get dooped.
  4. Sar

    Sar Part of the furniture

    Thank god for broadband...

  5. RandomBastard

    RandomBastard Can't get enough of FH

    That story makes me so glad i dont even own a modem
  6. Tom

    Tom FH is my second home

    Don't premium rate phonelines have to warn you in advance, of the charges?

    I would get the OFT/OFCOM to investigate this, and speak to BT. Your father has a realistic chance of not paying all of that bill. Also, contact BBC Watchdog, I've used their callsheets a few times to get better service :)
  7. Brynn

    Brynn Can't get enough of FH

    I ran ad-aware 379 files :(

    thank god for broadband, in a depressingly sad way.
  8. Tom

    Tom FH is my second home

    Most of those would be cookies I reckon.
  9. Brynn

    Brynn Can't get enough of FH

    I few were. But mostly they were advertising. Some were porn diallier. Which i cant for the life of me realise how they got there :rolleyes:

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