Protection From Computer Dialer Programs
When Your Computer Makes A Call...Without
If you use the Internet, you're probably dialing a local phone number
to get online. Chances are you know exactly what you pay for that local
service. However, many consumers are surprised to find they've been charged
for calls to destinations that aren't remotely local, simply remote.
The calls were made through their modems without their knowledge or approval.
How does it happen? it's a scheme some Web
sites use to trick consumers into paying to access "free" Internet
content. Often, the sites claim to be "free" or advertise that
"no credit card is needed," then prompt the user to download
a "viewer" or "dialer" program. Here's the catch:
Once the program is downloaded to the user's computer, it disconnects
from the Internet and reconnects using another phone number - a domestic
long distance, international or 900 number - at rates between $2 and $7
These scams, which are typically associated
with adult sites, don't require a credit card number for access. That
means they're available to children, who can click onto them without their
parents' knowledge or permission. Even if parents disable international
calling from their phone lines, many modem dialers are programmed to circumvent
the "block," and initiate international calls using a "10-10
Here's how you can minimize your chances
of finding surprise charges on your phone bill:
- Consider a dedicated phone line for your
computer and restrict it to local calls.
- Pay attention to any program that enables
your modem to re-dial to the Internet. If you see a dialog box on your
computer indicating that it's dialing when you didn't direct it to,
cancel the connection and hang up. Check the number you're dialing and
continue only if it's a local call.
- Make sure your modem makes an audible
noise when dialing a phone number - so you can hear that a new connection
is being made.
- Delete any dialer programs that have been
downloaded onto your computer.
- Read online disclosures carefully. They
may be buried several clicks away in pages of small print. In addition,
read the language in the typical gray boxes on your screen. Don't click
on "OK" unless you know exactly what you're agreeing to.
- If in the past you used a modem to dial
up the Internet and now you use a high-speed DSL or cable connection,
disconnect the phone line from your computer. You don't need it to access
the Internet any more, and it could leave you vulnerable to a dialer
- You may want to install a firewall, especially
if you use a high-speed Internet connection. A firewall is software
or hardware designed to block hackers from accessing your computer.
You also might consider increasing the security settings on the operating
system software on your computer.
- Talk to your children. Explain that they
could be targets of international modem dialing scams and tell them
the consequences of downloading "viewer" or "dialer"
programs on the computer.
your children's Internet use. Keep track of the Web sites your children
visit by checking the Web browser history files and cache.
- Be skeptical when surfing the Web especially
when you see claims like "free" or "no credit card needed"
in exchange for a product or service.
- Dispute the charges with the company doing
- Save the bill. If you think you've been
a victim of unauthorized modem dialing, it may help identify the scammers
when you report the incident.
To protect your privacy and help keep your
computers data safe you can use privacy protection software, security
software and monitoring software that is readily available online:
Privacy & Protection Software:
PC Delete - www.pcdelete.com
Protection Reviews Articles & Related Information.