BT brings in new measures to stamp out diallers

BT plans to roll out two new initiatives aimed at tackling the problem of Internet diallers. The scam has become widespread over the past couple of years with thousands of internet dial up customers having their machines hijacked into making secret premium rate calls.

The first weapon in the armoury is a free software download called BT Modem Protection. The applet prevents a PC from dialling premium rate or international numbers, even if rogue dialler software attempts to do so. The software will register an alert to the user if their modem dials any number other than a list of ‘approved numbers’, such as the national call and freephone numbers used by Internet Service Providers.

Internet diallers are becoming a serious problem for computers that still connect to the internet via a dial up connection. The fraud usually occurs when someone visits a web site that secretly downloads a piece of software which then dials a premium rate number in the background. Generally the first that the customer knows about it is when they receive a huge bill for calls – often connected to sites with adult content.

In addition, the company is offering a new ‘early warning’ for customers. If the customer’s telephone bill suddenly starts to shoot up or the household is calling numbers suspected connected with diallers, BT will send a text or voicemail to warn the bill payer.

BT will also be offering a helpline for customers to call if they are worried about their bills. The company can then either put a block on premium rate or international calls.

The telco has already taken steps to tackle the problem. Last October, it announced that it had removed over a thousand premium numbers used by the fraudsters to rack up huge bills.

So far, BT says that almost two million customers are now using the call-barring options. Of these a million take the free premium rate barring option, whilst another 900,000 use customer-controlled barring. Finally, 55,000 have the premium and international bar which costs £1.75 a month.

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