Leading telcos move to block direct-dial ‘modem hijacking’ scam

28 Jun 2004

Leading Canadian telcos Telus Corp and BCE have announced plans to block direct-dialled calls to certain countries, in a bid to eradicate the problem of so-called ‘modem hijacking’. From 1 July Telus will bar calls to Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Nauru and Sao Tome, while BCE will follow suit from 1 August, blocking calls to Guinea-Bissau, Nauru, Sao Tome, Cook Islands, Tuvalu and Tokelau Islands. The move is designed to combat a scam whereby internet users with a dial-up connection find themselves unknowingly downloading programmes from websites or pop-ups. In such cases the customers’s modem is directed to make an IDD call, resulting in high long-distance call charges. Telus estimates to have received around 300 ‘modem hijacking’ complaints over the last three months, with some disgruntled customers presenting bills of upwards of CAD3,000. Telus and BCE must compensate the long-distance companies that carry these calls and are now cracking down on the countries in which the scam calls ‘most commonly originate’.

Canada