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Ireland Cracks Down on Online Scammers 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-call-there-anymore dept.
bizpile writes "Ireland has decided to take some extreme measures to crack down on one type of online scam. They have decided to suspend direct dialing to 13 countries (mostly South Pacific Islands) in order to halt the use of auto-dialers. The measure, announced by Ireland's Commission for Communications Regulation, came in response to hundreds of consumer complaints about the scams. ComReg acknowledges that its move is extreme but says that previous efforts to raise awareness of the problem failed to significantly diminish complaints. ComReg will keep the block in place for six months, after which it will be reviewed. All direct-dial calls will initially be blocked, although the regulator is also compiling a "white list" of legitimate numbers that consumers have requested to call."
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Ireland Cracks Down on Online Scammers

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  • What's the scam ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:06AM (#10327182) Journal
    I mean I can see that if it's just to make people pay when there's no need, it'd be a real pain where it hurts, but if it's to try and collect on that money (by setting up a high-cost line then using a virus/trojan to change the settings to dial it), there must be someone making money out of it. Surely it ought to be possible to track down by the payments ?

    I suppose the line owner could claim innocence, but they'd have to be damn convincing about it if lots of people suddenly start dialling this high-cost line.

    Simon
    • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by aug24 (38229) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:15AM (#10327215) Homepage
      Tariffs are paid between phone networks, then call revenues are paid on in the receiving country to the person/entity who owns the line. That person is 'somewhere else', obviously. Chuck a few paper companies in awkward places in the chain and you're stuffed.

      The telcos can't ask their opposite numbers for details, and can't refuse to pay for certain numbers either. So blocking them at root is (a) their only option and (b) a jolly good idea because all the poor buggers like my brother (who got caught for 125gbp just the other day - bloody MS insecure ^&*&^%$) would find their net connection refused and realise that they're being done.

      Justin.
      • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tim C (15259) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @06:18AM (#10327384)
        a jolly good idea because all the poor buggers like my brother (who got caught for 125gbp just the other day - bloody MS insecure ^&*&^%$) would find their net connection refused and realise that they're being done

        That's the other good thing about ADSL - I don't have to worry about shit like this. No (traditional) modem, no way it can dial out. Good job too, as in the past I've had to clean a handful of the little buggers off my girlfriend's PC.

        Sucks to be caught out by this sort of thing though - hope your brother gets/got the money back.
        • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by aug24 (38229) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @06:47AM (#10327454) Homepage
          hope your brother gets/got the money back.

          Not looking likely... but tell your MS-using UK friends: BT will password protect premium numbers so they can't be used by a dialler.

          J.

          • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Not exactly password protect, but you can ring 150 and ask for "premium rate number barring". From then on, you just can't ring 09xxxxxxxx numbers until you phone up 150 to remove the bar.

            Save yourself a fortune

          • Not looking likely... but tell your MS-using UK friends: BT will password protect premium numbers so they can't be used by a dialler.

            But for international call baring they would have to pay.
        • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:4, Informative)

          by woodhouse (625329) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @08:12AM (#10327704) Homepage
          You're not susceptible to auto-diallers maybe, but with an always on connection, you're a lot more susceptible to viruses generally. Using a router with DSL or cable is a good idea, if only for the hardware firewall.
        • That's the other good thing about ADSL - I don't have to worry about shit like this. No (traditional) modem, no way it can dial out.

          Unless you live in the Netherlands and you have an evil big telco (KPN) that changes your DSL line into an electronic payment facility, with a risk of EUR 3.000 per incident. The technology they used is called 'Klipping' to link the IP number to the phone number of the DSL connection being used. No matter who has access to your machine (could be a remote connection with a ste
      • by blorg (726186) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @07:22AM (#10327537)
        Eircom (Ireland's effective telecom monopoly) had picked the dialler countries out specifically and put them in a special 'Band 13' that was more expensive than anywhere else on the planet - 360.58c per minute, *three times* the next most expensive region. However these same countries could be dialled from for example Germany for as little as 37c/minute.

        So likely Eircom were paying the foreign telco a relatively small amount for completing the call, and the foreign telco would pass on a percentage of that to the dialler operator, while Eircom itself was getting the lions share of the actual call costs. If you complained, they would basically say 'you shouldn't have been visiting porn sites then'.

        It was in no way in Eircom's interest to see these scams ended, and that's why it was the government regulator that stepped in to force them to block the number.

        See here [comwreck.com] for some more background information. (This guy's site is a parody of the ComReg site but the information he presents is true.)
    • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Threni (635302)
      I'm still waiting for a valid criticism of my idea which is to delay payment from the people who supply a phone service (British Telecom in the UK, AT&T etc in the States) to the people who run premium rate numbers for 2 or 3 months, so that there is plenty of time for people to dispute their bills. So if I find I have a 1000 UKP bill to some dodgy little company on some obscure island, and I complain, and there are many other people in the same position, then payment is withheld until the dodgy company
      • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jobsagoodun (669748) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:35AM (#10327274)
        They already do delay it. There was a brilliant scam done to BT 10 years ago when premium lines first came out. The scammers got two offices, and put 20 phone lines into one, and 20 premium lines into the other. The bills for the premium lines got paid out (to the scammers) every 30 days, but the phone bills on the out going lines were payable every 90. So the scammers phoned up the premium lines from their outgoing lines & too two months money off BT.

        At that point I think BT made the billing cycles the same!
        • I'm pretty sure it's terrible at supporting Gnutella standards. IIRC, it cannot be an Ultrapeer

          No, the billing cycles are still as you described them. I believe they will, however, block a line that is being used to make too many premium rate calls and require an advance payment to reenable it.
        • Re:What's the scam ? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by igb (28052)
          Actually, the more dramatic scam involved `midnight lines'. Once upon a time, BT (or probably British Telecom, or even the GPO) would sell you a phone line with which you could make unlimited calls between midnight and six in the morning. Combined with a premium rate number you could get very rich. ian
      • by DrSkwid (118965)

        You can't *prove* you didn't make the call legitimately.

    • OK, so the current set of scammers are probably just interested in getting money out of the premium phone line. But I assume there's a dialup server on the other end that actually provides internet access, so that people don't notice the scam too quickly.

      This means they could also sniff packets to their heart's content, stealing passwords as they go...

  • by CdBee (742846) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:07AM (#10327186)
    Lesson One. Be a European regulatory authority!

    BT, here in the UK, have been doing some similar actions recently although on a less extreme scale.(One of which is maximum cost control, they refuse to route any call where the cost is higher than the maximum cost for an inland premium-rate call in the UK).

    Its good to see regulators and firms acting to protect the more clueless users from themselves, as long as it doesn't prevent people requesting a line be opened.
  • power of boycott (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsunamifirestorm (729508) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:08AM (#10327191) Homepage
    What about all those legitimate businesses that are dependent solely on Ireland for their existance? Seriously though, If more countries were like this, it would probably force the governments to crack down on scammers (or at least try to).
    • that's the idea, to make it too expensive for these countries that harbour these scammers to harbour them(at the moment some of them are even getting bribes from these scammers.. so they don't care if they're not legit even under their legislation).

      if you want to act like an asshole you risk that nobody will call you up and invite you anywhere...
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:08AM (#10327193) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't simply ensuring you have adequate virus/spyware protection help? This falls under awareness since people download things that do things totally differently than what they wanted. In extreme cases, you could remove the dialup modem and leave an Ethernet card for Internet access. In any case, blocking direct-dialing does seem too extreme.
    • Fortunately many banks have now finally moved to Internet banking. Many broadband users left their modem installed "because it is required to use telebanking". When a modem is an utterly useless piece of equipment, it should be easier to persuade the user to disconnect or remove it.

      So, in parallel with informing the users, it should help to recommend businesses to discontinue all modem dialin services that can be (or have been) moved to Internet.
    • Wouldn't simply ensuring you have adequate virus/spyware protection help? This falls under awareness since people download things that do things totally differently than what they wanted.

      I know it is traditional not to read the article, but you could at least read the summary.

      previous efforts to raise awareness of the problem failed to significantly diminish complaints

      They tried rasing awareness. It didn't work. Many, many uses don't have adequate virus/spyware protection, and don't understand a

    • Most of online Irish people use 56k modems. Some of the new adware stuff actually actively attacks protection programs, and/or stops the user from downloading the tools required to repair their machine.

      So I don't think it is all that extreme. If you read the article you will see that a lot of the countries listed don't even have a real population there.
  • White lists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hackerm (148340) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:09AM (#10327197)
    the regulator is also compiling a "white list" of legitimate numbers that consumers have requested to call


    So what's going to stop owners of those numbers in foreign countries to send an email requesting that their number is whitelisted?

    • So what's going to stop owners of those numbers in foreign countries to send an email requesting that their number is whitelisted?

      The easiest way would be for the regulator to accept requests only be telephone via a number which does not accept calls from outside the Irish Republic.
  • I think it's sad that to stop scammers Ireland has to deliberately stunt its telecommunications infrastructure. This will help stop the scams themselves and their profitability, but scamming will continue to hurt Ireland.

    So what's going to stop owners of those numbers in foreign countries to send an email requesting that their number is whitelisted?

    Remember that there's a step between request and approval. Ireland is clearly serious about this.
    • Yes because Ireland's economy is closely coupled with that of the South Pacific Islands.

      Rather a lot of these "make random uninformed comments" karma whores today.

      • Yes because Ireland's economy is closely coupled with that of the South Pacific Islands.

        Did I say that Ireland's economy would be hurt? No. I said that they were restricting the functionality of their phone network, which they are. I can't say that there are a lot of "make random uninformed replies" to actual comments idiots around because, in fact, your somewhat alone in your stupidity.

        karma whores
        My karma is already maxed out, moron.
    • 99.9% of calls to these numbers are fraud. Ireland isn't stunting its telephone infrastructure in any meaningful way.

      Think of this as cutting off an entire netblock for spamming. Either the guys on the other side do something about it, or their phones just stop ringing.
    • I think it's sad that to stop scammers Ireland has to deliberately stunt its telecommunications infrastructure. This will help stop the scams themselves and their profitability, but scamming will continue to hurt Ireland.

      They're not the only ones. Optus in Australia made direct dialing to Sao Tome-Principe, Guinea-Bissau, and Diego Garcia available only on an opt-in basis earlier this year. I don't know if it's the same in Ireland, but everyone I know who makes international calls uses calling cards any

  • by pklong (323451) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:29AM (#10327262) Homepage Journal
    Why not just ban all premium rate dial up sites. They are just breeding grounds for porn sites and scams. I've yet to see a legitimate use for them. We could do without them.

    If you want to charge for a service get the customer to enter their credit card details / set up an account. If you think they would be unwilling, then that speaks volumes about your business.

    • They are just breeding grounds for porn sites

      and you call that illegitmate ?
    • Why not just ban all premium rate dial up sites. They are just breeding grounds for porn sites and scams. I've yet to see a legitimate use for them. We could do without them.

      If you want to charge for a service get the customer to enter their credit card details / set up an account. If you think they would be unwilling, then that speaks volumes about your business.


      A telco I use the services of operates a premium-rate dialup in order to change the terminating line of their non-geographic numbers.

      Typical c
  • by 16K Ram Pack (690082) <tim,almond&gmail,com> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:37AM (#10327284) Homepage
    Maybe Windows should make it a little more difficult to go altering dial-up settings. How many users would mind a warning message saying "a program is trying to change your dial-up".

    Does any spyware/anti-virus software check this (and I don't mean check for a piece of particular spyware, but check the behaviour).

    • Maybe the spyware would start displaying the following:

      "If windows asks about changing dialup settings, remember to click Yes or you won't see [Insert_Celeb_Name] tits."

      Its just like the websites for activeX controls, or more recently for Driver downloads.

      Never underestimate the gullibility of your userbase.

      All of these problems are caused by operating under Admin anyway, because if I remember rightly, you can't change things like this as a normal user.

      Fix that issue and the problems will subside.
  • Good Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XeRXeS-TCN (788834) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:40AM (#10327297)
    It's a fairly good idea, all in all... It's kinda similar in certain respects to the way most firewalls are (or should be) configured; block all, allow selectively.

    Clearly no company wants to cut into their profits, so I'm sure they very carefully analysed calls to the blocked areas over the last while, to see how many calls were made out to them. If they were used all the time by customers, they wouldn't consider it feasible to ban the entire selection.

    It could be considered to be extreme, but it's certainly not any sort of censorship. They have said that they will compile a "white-list" of numbers in those territories, so if you have a legitimate reason to be calling those places, they are more than happy for you to do so. Again, just like configuring a firewall for the first time, it is a bit of a pain to allow all the things you need to, but you end up with a much more secure system.
    • As someone else has pointed out this decision has not come from a company, it has come from the Communications Regulator. Eircom (the incumbent monopoly, formerly state-owned, then semi-state, then public limited and now privately owned) would have had no interest in addressing this problem as they were making a fortune on it too! Now I personally think this decision is fine also, most people who actually want to call these numbers will be happy to tell their phone service provider to just open up the co
  • by CheesyPeteza (814646) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:45AM (#10327313)
    Atleast its finally showing a government willing to do something about it. You can't just educate people overnight to become IT experts and never get fooled again by some auto dialer. There will always be people who don't understand the system they are using. Education isn't a complete solution, the telephone regulators have to step in and do something. I would actually like to see a ban on the extreme premium rate calls completely (the ones that charge about 1000% the price of the call), but still allow the double the cost ones for TV programmes to make money in their competitions/polls like who wants to be a millionaire etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I agree. The fact is that the Internet is populated by an awful lot of people who are completely uneducated regarding the pitfalls. I know at least one person who was a victim of one of these dialers, and Eircom were only too happy to charge her the 60 euros for the price of a single call to Papa New Guinea. Frankly, innocent people were getting scammed out of a lot of money, and it had to stop. Predictably, Eircom, or Eircon as they're commonly known here, seemed happy to let it carry on, and make money ou
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @05:54AM (#10327335)
    So why not pass a law against any "automatic" payments on a telephone bill going outside the country? The end user shouldn't be responsible for this type of fraud at all, and if the telcos had to resolve any such charges themselves rather than making their cut when the end user was hijacked and scammed, you can bet they would be more motivated to clean up the system as well.

    Of course, you might still need to block some popular scam countries, if only to protect the citizens from running up not insignificant long distance time charges (and you certainly can't stop the telcos from charging from long distance time, but you can stop them from charging the extra fees that motivate this problem in the first place). If enough countries got around to saying flat out that we know this is a scam and we are going to legally protect our citizens from the "fees" they are being scammed out of, then eventually the problem would go away and there would be no need to block numbers. But as long as the government sides with the crooks and their telco accomplices and allows the telcos to go after the victim in this scam, the problem will not only continue but will grow; this article is the proof of that.

    What little, if any, valid charges one incurrs while calling another party by long distance could certainly be covered by other and better means than allowing it to be directly billed to a telephone number (credit card, for example). Enforcing this would be far better than exposing all of your citizens to a scam based on a flawed telco business model and blocking whole countries from your long distance system.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing this type of billing go away completely, even for calls within a country. But at least there is a good argument that any scammers operating this way inside a country can be caught and taken to court; which is often not the case when they are on the other side of the globe. A few simple changes to the law, such as forcing the telcos to hold any payments for several innitial months to be sure victims have time to complain about scam sites and block those payments, should be adequate to stop hit and run scammers from seting up shop in the country they plan to run their scam in. And, of course, a law should block incoming international long distance telco "special fees", not just outgoing ones.

  • Duh! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    No I didnt RTFA, but it says they are banning direct dial calls, so if you want to ring someone in one of those countries, ring the International Operator first and ask to be connected. Duh!
    • Re:Duh! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690)
      If I were implementing this, I'd have a (short) message describing why the call has been blocked, followed by "If you really want to be connected, please dial now."
      • Re:Duh! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by julesh (229690) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @06:24AM (#10327398)
        D'oh!

        That should read:

        "..., please dial [random 3 digit code] now."
      • NO! It's the scammers that are taking over your computers that are really doing the dialing. Don't you think they would quickly add a pause and this extra dialing in? There may be ways to beat them (but don't bet on it - many modems do voice and a good hack might even voice-id a challange of numbers to be dialed back), but the far better solution would be to flatly outlaw this flawed telco business model of charginging special premium fees for some numbers, particularly for International calls (where the s
        • Don't you think they would quickly add a pause and this extra dialing in?

          Well, thats why it would be a random number, not something predictable.

          There may be ways to beat them (but don't bet on it - many modems do voice and a good hack might even voice-id a challange of numbers to be dialed back)

          Voice analysis is hard. If only a few countries implement blocks of this nature, they wouldn't bother doing anything about it.
          • Voice analysis is hard.

            Voice analysis gets a lot easier when you're trying to analyze a source designed to be clear and distinct, and you only have to pick out the informstion from a very iimited subset of words, in this case the tem posiable digits.

    • by mpe (36238)
      but it says they are banning direct dial calls, so if you want to ring someone in one of those countries, ring the International Operator first and ask to be connected.

      Maybe these numbers (if any) will subsequently be added to the IDD whitelist.
    • by myov (177946)
      I thought Telus (dominant landline carrier in Western Canada) implemented this recently as well.
  • by sofakingon (610999) * on Thursday September 23, 2004 @06:06AM (#10327362)
    It all comes down to education. If the people in general were more suspicious and critical of people, especially online, and new about basic security measures, this kind of thing would happen more rarely.

    However, people will not "wake up" to a fact until it (A) impacts a large enough segment for the media to report on it or (B) impacts business enough to have them protect their infrastructure better and/or buy air/press time (see A above)

    Government regulation is not the answer. It creates more red tape and toothless laws and raises taxes. Businesses (to include telcos, whether a state or private) should be innovative, not lobby the government to protect a broken system.

  • by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Thursday September 23, 2004 @06:57AM (#10327480) Homepage
    In Germany dialers must be registered with the respective authorities otherwise it's illegal and the scammers are not entitled to collect anything.

    If premium charges are racked up the user must physically type OK into a box before the dialer gets operative. That doesn't help too much if in addition to the dialer a troyan is sneaked into the computer that OK's it in a for the user transparent fashion.

    In this case the number was shut down and the scamee mustn't pay.

    In Switzerland dialers to premium numbers are outright verboten, since this year. Period.

  • In Denmark (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The phone companies also blocked a number of countries. You can call a toll free number and
    have the block lifted for free. It esentially stopped all the sacamming in one go. Those that need to do buisness with those countries presumably opened their lines shortly after (I presume that this is a very limited number of people), so the commercial impact was minimal, and the benefits maximal.

  • by Secrity (742221) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @09:05AM (#10328053)
    I believe that people who use any browser other than MSIE are either much less likely or incapable of having these dialers seripticiously loaded on their computers. The article said "previous efforts to raise awareness of the problem failed to significantly diminish complaints." Wouldn't it be more effective for Ireland to simply advertise the dangers of using MSIE?
  • Official Apology (Score:4, Informative)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfr ... t ['om.' in gap]> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @09:29AM (#10328216) Homepage Journal
    The following was an email sent to all eircom customers(or at least everyone with a @eircom.net address


    From: service.announcements@eircom.net

    Dear Customer,

    As part of our ongoing commitment to customer service we would like to
    provide you with the following important information on Modem
    Hi-Jacking.

    Modem Hi-Jacking occurs when a web site you visit purposely disconnects
    you from your Internet Service Provider and reconnects you to the
    Internet through an international or premium rate number, which may
    result in increased call charges.

    Everyone using the Internet should be aware of this risk. It is a
    global issue and is not confined to Ireland. eircom net provides a safe
    surfing guide, which may help you reduce the risk of Modem Hi-Jacking.

    Please be aware that there are also software and hardware solutions
    available, which may reduce the risk of Modem Hi-Jacking. Our safe
    surfing guide provides some examples of these solutions. These are
    purely examples and do not represent an exhaustive list. eircom net is
    not in a position to recommend a particular solution. Customers will
    need to determine which one best suits their particular needs.

    For further advice please visit our safe surfing guide at
    http://www.eircom.net/safesurfing

    Kind Regards,

    Fintan Lawler

    Managing Director, eircom net



    This mail sounds a lot like eircom covering their own asses to me. They've regularly overcharged the numbers that dialers are calling, at over 3 a minute. I was almost caught by one of these dialer programs myself a few years back.
    I logged off, left the PC to get something to eat, and then a very wierd sound started coming out of the modem. A big dialing +475 5746353735373 or something appeared on the status connection. Got freaked out at the time. Virus scanner couldn't find the dialer, so I had to desperatly altavista for an answer(didn't know about google yet). I fixed the issue but low and behold, the next bill had a big IR£3 charge for the number that the dialer connected to for about 20 seconds.

    This scam has been know for a long time, radio stations are always on about it every few months. Maybe the guy on the inside got caught, because there HAD to be one unless eircom just enjoyed grossly overcharging customers. Oh well. Monopoly is as monopoly does. Still they're giving a free broadband trial now... Hmmm I wonder if I should NO CARRIER
  • Ha ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by elronxenu (117773)
    It's the telco version of the USENET Death Penalty [stopspam.org] applied to a whole country :-)

    And they called us vigilantes ...!

  • Dumb (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kieran (20691) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:51AM (#10329765)
    the regulator is also compiling a "white list" of legitimate numbers that consumers have requested to call.

    "Hello, is that Paddy? I'll give you 20 euros to try and call this number so that it gets added to the whitelist."
    • by vhold (175219)
      There aren't enough details here to determine if the white list idea is flawed or not. The article says they are working with representatives from the blocked countries to help compile the list. That seems to suggest some level of testing at least, and that just blindly adding numbers that are requested isn't likely to be the case.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    My sister in South Africa was caught with a whopping bill due to this scam. I wrote a long letter to Telkom, who eventually reimbursed part of her bill (but admitted no guilt on their part)

    Interestingly, during my research I came across these links that indicated the diallers are actually developed in Dublin itself.

    Seems like things are going full-circle here - Ireland is cutting lines to countries dialled by software developed in Ireland...
    Shouldn't they start investigating the root cause?

    http://www.wi [wired.com]
  • Hello, is that ComReg? I would like my aunties number to added to ther white list. The number is +475 5746353735373..
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @03:21PM (#10332562) Homepage
    What ComReg is really doing [comreg.ie] is telling eircom that they can't charge for dialer calls. But they can't order eircom to provide free service. So they told eircom to either block or not bill. Here's the actual directive:
    • The Commission for Communications Regulation directs that Providers of Publicly Available Telephone Services shall no later 04 October 2004:
    • a) Suspend direct dial access to destinations listed in the attached Appendix B. The Appendix will be reviewed on a regular basis by ComReg and the network operators and amended appropriately in response to any significant changes to problem destinations; and
    • b) permit direct dial access to specific telephone numbers located within the destinations referred to in the attached Appendix B only at the request of a subscriber and following the network operator having verified that the requested telephone number is a legitimate service only or
    • c) As an alternative to only permitting direct dial access in accordance with paragraph b), above, providers of publicly available telephone services can choose to no longer charge any consumers for unauthorised call charges arising from Autodiallers.

    It's only for six months, until they figure out something better.

  • Forward the call to an IVR system which says:
    To complete your call dial XXX
    Where XXX is a random three-digit number.

    Humans will be able to respond to this. Modem autodialers will not (at least not without a huge amount of added intelligence).

    BTW: I'm patenting the process :-)

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