Phone row over rogue dialler

A COUPLE who had their phone cut off following a row with BT only found out when they tried to call a doctor.Colin Green and his partner Coral Garrad were disgusted to find they could not make the call after their six-month-old son fell over while playing at home.

A COUPLE who had their phone cut off following a row with BT only found out when they tried to call a doctor.

Colin Green and his partner Coral Garrad were disgusted to find they could not make the call after their six-month-old son fell over while playing at home.

Unbeknown to the couple, BT had cut them off after they disputed a £300 phone bill caused by a rogue dialler which called premium rate numbers every time they used the internet.

Rogue diallers can hijack the computer and make the calls - usually to costly adult or games websites - without the user's knowledge.

Miss Garrad, 44, said: "I wanted to call our local surgery to speak to a doctor. It was just to check he was ok, but I found I was going through to BT. I couldn't believe it."

Mr Green added: "She was put through to the accounts department. They had given us no notification that we were going to be cut off."

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The couple, from Mendlesham Green have been in contact with ICSTIS (Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services), to try to resolve the problem. Mr Green was told to identify the companies behind the numbers and try to negotiate a settlement with them.

However, Mr Green said: "I really don't want to be having any dealings with these people. I don't have a problem if people want to go to adult sites but what I'm finding is that some of them are quite frightening."

He added: "To me, BT is collecting money on behalf of a company who's asking me to pay for services I have not used.

"If I put my shopping in someone else's basket at the supermarket, I would not expect them to pay for it and I'm adamant that I'm not going to pay BT for this."

The couple are now without a landline telephone and are having to use a mobile phone to contact BT, thus incurring further expense.

A spokesman for BT said it was difficult to comment on individual cases, but the company had no choice in allowing these dial hijackers to call premium rate numbers from people's home modems.

He said: "BT is doing everything in its power to stop this menace. We have taken the decision to block numbers suspected of being associated with diallers as soon as we are alerted to a problem.

"BT gets just 3p per minute from collecting for these calls, all of which is donated to Childline."

Fast Facts - Rogue Diallers:

n Rogue diallers often come disguised before disconnecting users from their internet service provider. They then silence the modem and dial a number in a far away country.

n Only people using the traditional dial-up modem are at risk. Broadband internet users are not affected unless they also have a dial-up modem connected to a phone line.

n Rogue diallers are common on adult sites and sites carrying pirated material such as music, films and software.

n Phone bills featuring numbers beginning with 09 are often a sign that your modem has been affected.

n Those concerned they could be at risk should contact their telephone provider and ask them to put a bar on premium rate numbers.

n Around 1,000 mainly international numbers suspected of being associated with diallers have been taken down to date.

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