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Porn dialler fraudsters find lucrative loophole

Legal side-step fleeces punters

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German site Dialerschutz (Dialler Protection) is warning internet users about a new scam from Spain that is likely to spread to other European countries.

In the past dialler vendors would secretly install trojans on users' PCs that dialled out to expensive (foreign) numbers and racked up punters' phone bills. In Germany and many other European countries, that's no longer allowed. German dialler services currently have to register with German regulatory authorities and commit to operating clean services. If customers have no knowledge of the services they use, they can’t be forced to pay.

But as usual, the scammers are trying to fool users with a new trick. Teleflate S.L. from Palma de Mallorca runs several porn sites, which can be accessed from Germany through a dialler program and a registered 09009 phone number for €30 (!) per hour. It also pops up a screen asking you for permission to enter the site, all according to the rules.

Their ploy: the company installs a small Java program that simply fills in "JA" ("yes") to an agreement about payments - often without users noticing it. Victims may have difficulty disputing the charges later, because it appears as if they made these calls voluntarily.

Dialerschutz has already informed the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Bonn about Teleflate. Interest group Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Telefonmehrwertdienste (FST), which represents companies that develop paid phone services, calls the new ploy "deeply alarming". The trick, Dialerschutz says, shouldn't work on a fully-patched Windows PC. ®

Related stories

British Gas warns punters about rogue diallers
Ofcom to crack down on premium rate scamsters
Swiss telco fined £50K for UK rogue dialling action
ICSTIS in meltdown - MPs
UK premium rate phone complaints rocket
BT cuts off dialler scammers
German dialler scammers hijack signatures
MPs slam premium-rate 'criminal scams'
Eutelsat denies rogue diallers accusation
Germany regulates dialler market

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