Small businesses concerned that their staff may inadvertently connect to rogue internet diallers at a cost of £1.50 a minute while surfing the Net can rest a little easier after BT acted to block 1,000 numbers allegedly associated with the expensive nuisance.
When surfing, it is becoming increasingly common for a pop-up prompt to come up on the screen asking the user whether they want to connect to a service. Users can either be tempted to install the dialler software, or in their haste to get rid of the pop-up, they can press the wrong button and end up connecting at a premium.
A second warning e-mail to 1.8 million internet customers will be sent in the next few weeks to reiterate how customers can avoid becoming victims of a dialler. This will remind customers of options such as free premium rate number barring, for instance.
So far, a total of 50,000 customers have taken advantage of BT’s offer of free premium rate number barring since July, giving a total of 1.5 million customers who now take such a service from BT.
The telecoms provider said it has now dealt with 45,000 cases where customers have fallen foul of a rogue dialler, with a further 9,500 cases waiting to be resolved. BT currently only gets 3p a minute from the £1.50 a minute charge, with the rest going to the company that has registered the number.
Gavin Patterson, BT group managing director, consumer and ventures, 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.
“We have offered free premium rate barring to all customers, and a removable bar for premium rate and international calls for £1.75 a month.”
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