Ireland bars South Pacific in rogue dialler crackdown

I'm gonna wash that scam right out of my hair

Ireland is to block direct dialling to 13 countries, mostly in the South Pacific, to combat the growing menace of rogue autodiallers. The ban comes into force on 4 October.

Rogue diallers change the number used in dial-up connections to an expensive international number. Sometimes users are offered access to porn sites in return for changing their internet access numbers to whatturns out be premium rate or international numbers. More often changes in dial-up numbers are carried out surreptitiously using malicious code. Consumers typically realise that their internet dial-up settings have been changed only when they receive a phone bill with high call charges to international destinations.

ComReg, Ireland's phone regulator, said that more than 300 people have contacted it this year, after falling victim to rogue diallers. The amounts lost ranged from €20 to €2,000.

In response, it has told ISPs and service providers to block direct dial calls to the Cook Islands, Comoros, Diego Garcia, Kiribati, Mauritania, Norfolk Island, Nauru, Sao Tome and Principe, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, and French Polynesia. Specific phone numbers can be unblocked at the request of subscribers.

ComReg also asked ISPs to notify customers about autodialler scams and to recommend protective measures - such as using up-to-date anti-virus software.

ComReg chairman John Doherty said: "Comreg has a statutory duty to protect consumers. The measures we are taking are extraordinary ones but are necessary to provide consumers with the protection they need at this time. We will keep the process we are now directing under close review and will intervene again if the need arises."

Dodgy text messages and rogue Internet diallers accounted for two-thirds of all complaints received by UK premium rate regulator ICSTIS last year. ®

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External Links

ComReg policy statement of rogue diallers (PDF)

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