BT is tackling the problem of rogue internet diallers, which hijack computer modems to dial often premium rate or international numbers without the owner’s knowledge.
The company is providing free downloadable modem protection software, which will warn users if their computer begins dialling such numbers, or any number outside a list of pre-approved numbers such as the national call and freephone numbers used by ISPs.
In addition, BT has launched an early warning system which spots anomalies in customer bills even on a daily basis. If usage differs dramatically from the usual pattern, customers will be warned via text or voice message of a potential sharp increase in their call charges.
If customers are concerned their system is being hijacked to dial premium numbers, they can connect to a BT number which will immediately bar the line, preventing further misuse.
Gavin Patterson, group managing director of consumer and ventures at BT, said, “We’ve introduced these measures as a co-ordinated approach to help customers make informed choices in the first place, and minimise the impact if they have been adversely affected.”
Both products have already undergone successful trials in Northern Ireland, and will be available to all BT customers from May.