ComReg cracks down on net dialling fraud

THE Communications regulator yesterday launched an attempt to crackdown on internet dialling scams.

ComReg said it has dealt with 300 calls this year from consumers whose computers have been hijacked by fraudsters who are using the computers to make expensive overseas calls.

“Problems arise where consumers are not aware that their internet dial-up settings have been changed to an international number. In many cases, the consumer will only realise they have fallen victim when they receive their phone bill with high call charges to international destinations,” said a spokesperson.

The new rules will mean that internet service providers will have to alert users of their service to the problem of rogue autodialler programmes.

The regulator has also said that direct dialling to places from where most of the dialling scams originate will be blocked.

Among the locations being blocked are the Cook Islands, Norfolk Island, Diego Garcia, Kiribati, Mauritiana, French Polynesia and the Solomon Islands. Access will only be unblocked on request to the phone companies.

ComReg chairman John Doherty says the new measure are “extraordinary” but necessary to provide consumers with adequate protection against the fraud.

"“We will keep the process we are now directing under close review and will intervene again if the need arises,” he added.

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