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Warning! - Internet Dumping (modem jacking)
Internet Dumping (modem jacking) occurs when the site you are visiting purposely disconnects you from the Internet then reconnects you using international or premium rate phone numbers. Most commonly it occurs on adult sites, and games and music sites. Most websites do ask the user to give permission before they are transferred to a more expensive call, but sometimes this request is hidden amongst promises of access to new or free content.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), escalated complaints handling body, recommends the following precautions against internet dumping:

Barring Calls:
Barring access to international and 190 numbers. To do this contact your telecommunications provider.

Read Carefully:
Reading carefully any windows that offer downloads.

Expiry Dates:
Putting long expiry dates on Internet history files so dumped calls can be traced.

Turn Off Computer:
Turn off computer and disconnect modem when not in use.

Case Studies:
From the Office of the TIO The following TIO case studies are examples of the consequences Internet users may face if they are unaware of Internet dumping.

  • Case 1
    A woman rang the TIO to complain that her phone bill was over $2,000 when it was usually no more than $350. On checking her bill she found a large number of calls to a 1900 number. It was found that her son had been accessing a website that charged premium telephone connection rates. Because adequate notification was given of the call charges, the woman was required to pay the bill.

  • Case 2
    A man was billed $190 for calls to Moldova and Seychelles. He rang the TIO to say he didn't recognise the international phone numbers. The man's Internet log-on records showed that he was using the Internet at the times the calls were made. The man couldn't identify the sites he had visited to establish whether or not notification of the call charges was given. In the absence of evidence, the TIO could not investigate the case further and the phone company pursued the outstanding bill.

  • Case 3
    A man received a telephone bill for $2,800. When it was established that the calls were made via his Internet connection, his children admitted to frequently visiting an adult website. The 190 call charges were found to be legitimate. The phone company offered the man a payment plan to help him pay the debt.

    The TIO suggests putting long expiry dates on Internet history files so dumped calls can be traced.

    Internet Explorer:
    Click on Tools menu, then select Internet Options.... Under the General tab, in the History area enter the number of days you want to keep the history of your Internet movements. If you receive your phone bill quarterly we suggest you set the history to greater than 90 days.

    Netscape 4.x
    1.From the Edit menu, choose Preferences.
    2.Click the Navigator category.
    3.Type a number of days in the field labeled "Pages in history expire after" ("Visited links expire" on Mac OS). When the specified number of days elapses, the color of a visited link reverts to the color of an unvisited link.

    On Windows and Unix, page visits are recorded in the History window for the specified number of days.

    On Mac OS, page visits are recorded in the History window only for the current session (until you exit from the application).

    To clear the History window:
    1.From the Edit menu, choose Preferences.
    2.Click the Navigator category.
    3.Click Clear History (Expire Now on Mac OS).

    Clearing the History window helps protect privacy, but makes it a little harder for you to retrace your steps.*

    So! To Avoid Being Caught
    • Read EVERYTHING before clicking OK, especially when you are going to download something
    • Call your telephone service provider (not your ISP) and barr international and premium rate calls on your modem line
    • Turn off your computer and modem when not in use
    • Don't delete data from your browser's history files, so that you can trace back problems if necessary
    • Monitor other people when they use the internet on your computer
    • Be especially careful of adult sites
    • Make sure you can hear your modem. Some people have a volume control on their modem and have it turned down - then you can't hear it redialling.

    Better still, KEEP OFF those "dodgy" adult sites, games sites, and music sites ;o))

    ---- Rookie

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