Premium phone connections

  Uncle Den 12:22 31 May 2003

When browsing for photographs, galleries, photos to find pleasant views and scenery and interesting places etc., I accidentally clicked on what turned out to be a "naughty" site and then found my ISP connection was broken and I was dialing a premium line to America!

In panic, I pulled out the phone connector to disconnect it but found it was still dialing the premium number when I plugged it back in. Then I frantically rattled the phone switch up and down and, finally, it went back to the normal dialing tone.

My phone bill showed I had been charged £9 for this clanger!

Does anyone know of an option that will stop the ISP line being diconnected in this way?

Some of the site names are very deceptive and you don't always get what you expect. I'm sure I'm nopt the only one who has been a victim of this scam.

Is there an option in the security setting to stop this happening? Any comments or solutions will be appreciated because, as an OAP, I can't afford it!

  vinnyT 12:53 31 May 2003

There are a few lines of defence open to you, software that prevents 'dialers' such as adaware at click here and spywareblaster at click here these are both excellent prog that are highly reccommended on this site.

And, you could ask your tel. company to block premium numbers from your phone. Hope this helps.

  graham√ 13:46 31 May 2003

As above, your teleco will have a facility to bar certain types of outgoing call, eg. International, National, Premium Rate, unless you insert a password. Used in conjunction with the software above, which should prevent 'dialers' being installed, you shouldn't have any more trouble.

  Uncle Den 11:47 04 Jun 2003

BT say they can block many things (including premium calls) being dialed out directly from a BT line. However, once you are online your ISP cannot stop anything (so AOL tell me) and it is down to the "vendor" to make changes to the dialers.

I tried installing Lavasoft and Spyware (as recommended by VinyT) but have found them confusing to use, despite having read completely through their "helps".

Spyware just sat with its icon on the desktop and I hadn't a clue if it were working or not - and was thus afraid to rely on it stopping all dialers - not that it claimed it could, I don't think.

Ad-aware seemed most impressive when I first set it up but, to be honest, I was very unsure about what objects to set it against. Their descriptions on the list were very unfamiliar and the individual items couldn't be fully explained by clicking of the "full explanations" button. The latter giving another list with names and titles that didn't seem to match the ones on the adjustment list.

I will persevere and try to work it all out.

One side effect (of Spyware I think) was that it went into my Privacy Management site and barred all cookies from PC Advisor. I've spent quite a few hours trying to logon to PC Advisor but was blocked every time with a notice telling me to allow it to use cookies - even though the option WAS switched on! To my relief, I've just discovered this totally banned (very extensive) list and removed them all - and finally got through to exchange ideas with you all again.

I'll let you know if I get to grips with Spyware and Ad-aware. I suppose you can use both together?

As I see it at the moment, there are half a dozen or more dialers that I need to understand enough to mess about with to find out which one prevents websites from pirating my phone to make premium calls - any wise advice on this would be very helpful.

  graham√ 12:25 04 Jun 2003

One snag I can put to rest, if a 'dialer' is installed on your PC it will be unable to initiate a Premium Rate call if you have them barred. Being on-line does not affect this, the 'dialer' cannot make a call over your internet connection.

  Uncle Den 12:44 04 Jun 2003

Graham - have you got in a muddle somewhere? Surely there are a numbers of dialers installed (or there is on my PC) and the trick is to disable the right one/s so that premium phone-line pirates can't get at it/them? Perhaps you (or anyone else) would like to come back on this?

  graham√ 13:27 04 Jun 2003

As I understand it, a 'dialer' is a program installed on your PC without your knowledge or permission. It will attempt to connect your PC to its website, usually using Premium Rate calls. This may be a 'porn' site, but can equally be one set up for the purpose of generating income from the calls made to it. Have a look at one of the companies promoting 'dialers' click here

Ad-aware may or may not find the 'dialer' you have acquired, but let it run and then select everything it finds and quarrentine them. You can retrieve anything later, and delete them all later if you don't have any problems. Follow up with Spywareblaster to find any that Ad-aware missed. Come back if you have any worries.

  Uncle Den 13:41 04 Jun 2003

I'm not very au fait with the Net yet. Are you telling me that there shouldn't be any dialers on my PC at all and that I should use "Search" to list them all up and delete them - and then use something to block any more being installed?

  graham√ 13:58 04 Jun 2003

No, there will be a number of dialers showing in search. Have a look in Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs. See if anything was installed on the date in question and uninstal it. Similarly, look in Programs.

A good firewall should block them.

  Uncle Den 15:18 04 Jun 2003

Been there - done that - and didn't find any. However, I know Ad-aware did show one dialer that led to a premium phone-line.

I also checked that dialer retailer you suggested to see what they had to offer - quite frightening, isn't it!

I'm still waiting for somebody to tell me how I can block them all off forever with some sort of ingenius program that is easy to understand and use - still can't fathom Ad-aware or Spymaster though...

  skeletal 12:46 05 Jun 2003

I have been "got" by these scam merchants myself. I only knew about it when I got a phone bill entry of £7 for less than 5 min call. I don't know how or where it did it, only when (because it was on my phone bill). I complained to the phone company, who could only suggest the block of 0900 numbers (which I still haven't done!).

I would have thought this is little more than stealing and would thus be a criminal offence...but like many other things ordinary folk deem to be criminal activities, I have no doubt the perpetrators get away with it scot free!

I do run Adaware from time to time, but like virus checkers, I suppose you need to do it every few seconds to make sure nothing slips through!!


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