BT customers may sue over internet rogue-dialling scam

Discussion in 'Spyware' started by Irish, May 23, 2004.

  1. Irish

    Irish Guest

    BT customers may sue over internet rogue-dialling scam

    ANGRY customers are ready to take BT to court over its
    failure to protect them from internet scams that have left
    them facing large phone bills.

    Many readers have contacted Times Money to voice their
    anger at the phone giant after we highlighted the plight of
    Derek and Sally Higdon, from Berkshire, who are facing a
    £750 bill from BT for calls made to West African premium-
    rate numbers about which they say they know nothing.

    The readers say that they have suffered the same problem
    and believe BT should have done more to prevent the scam,
    where a rogue dialler diverts a computer from ringing its
    normal internet service provider to call the premium-rate
    numbers instead.

    Barry Borman, a solicitor from north London, says BT is
    demanding payment of £60 for calls to premium-rate
    numbers in Sao Tome, West Africa, which he did not make.

    He says: "When I contacted BT to complain about my bill
    the company admitted it had been aware since January of
    the dialling scam originating from Sâo Tome, along with
    several similar scams.

    "I think BT owes its customers a duty of care and by doing
    nothing about a phone scam of which it is aware it is guilty
    of negligence. If there are enough of us we could mount a
    court action against the phone company."

    Martin Cross, a partner with Thomas Eggar, a firm of South
    East solicitors, thinks BT customers would have a sporting
    chance of succeeding with a legal action against the
    company. He says: "If BT was a highways authority and it
    permitted diversions to be erected on its roads which resulted
    in accidents, drivers would quite legitimately sue the highways
    authority and obtain compensation. You have to ask why BT
    should be any different.

    "It may well be time for the law to consider a duty of care
    to the users of telephone highways. The case would be even
    stronger if BT was indeed aware of the dialling scams and
    had done nothing to remedy the position." In Germany this
    problem has already been recognised and last year a new
    law was brought in to stamp out some of the abuses.

    Dr Christiane Bierekoven, computer law expert at Eimer
    Heuschmid Mehle, a Bonn, lawyer, says: "The law makes
    it compulsory for all data programme providers to register
    and adhere to strict rules. If there is non-compliance the
    company can be struck off."

    BT says it has no comment. Readers have also raised
    concerns about the website, which a
    BT security expert last week recommended for tackling
    rogue dialling software. The BT expert says he stands by
    what he said last week but is happy to look into readers'
    Irish, May 23, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. What a pile of crap! (Not you or the article... I mean the customers ^_^.)
    I'll put this out there blatantly: 99% of the usage of BT is for
    warez/illegal downloading purposes. Surely everyone will agree with me. Now
    the same 99% of those customers are going to sue BT for this program.
    Furthermore, those customers were likely to be downloading warez programs
    when they got the spyware/virus/whatever, which is THEIR fault. So let's
    look at it this way. Download warez, make stupid mistakes, sue and be rich.
    Right? I think I've pretty much got it right. Same goes for others...
    McDonalds: Buy coffee, be stupid and spill it on yourself, sue and be rich.
    I think our society has to stop trying to cheat people out of money. It
    might have been a bit justified if BT cost money, but IT'S FREEWARE. Many
    freeware programs aren't the best -- look at Photoshop and all the benefits
    it has over M$ Paint.... Why is it that the people who try to help are
    always the ones who go poor....

    What a shame...

    Just my $0.02
    -- Matt
    Matthew Del Buono, May 23, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. It is not BT's fault that these folk's computers were infected with the
    rougue dialler.

    The fault primarily lies with the author of the virus program that
    caused the change to their dialler.

    It could be said that the affected computer users were responsible for
    contributory negligence in as much as:-
    (a) They were using an operating system (Windows) and programs (Outlook
    Express/Internet Explorer) known to have serious security faults and
    (b) They failed to use up to date (or possibly even any) anti-virus
    software to protect their computer against viruses and rougue software.

    If anyone other than the computer users themselves and the virus writer
    is to blame it has to be Microsoft for writing such a crappy OS and
    browser in the first place.

    It is not BT's job to police the Internet nor the international phone
    systems. They are a common carrier and must carry phone calls made to
    any number world-wide. They cannot unilaterally bar access to other
    telecomms providers' customers - however dodgy those customers might be.

    The analogy made by Martin Cross just doesn't stand up to analysis.
    The 'highway diversion' did not occur within BT's network - it occurred
    before the call reached the network (ie inside the originator's
    computer). The highway analogy fails a little here, but let us imagine
    a future road network and cars where a driver could pre-program his car
    to automatically drive to the required destination. It would not be the
    fault of the highway authority if the driver intended the car to travel
    to destination 'A' but due to a problem with the on-board system the car
    was actually programmed to travel to destination 'B' and did so. It
    would only be the fault of the highway authority if the car was validly
    programmed to go to destination 'A' but the location and direction
    signals from the road network wrongly told it the direction to travel
    and it ended up at 'B'.
    Vernon Quaintance, May 23, 2004
  4. Irish

    Thane Guest

    BT allegedly knew about the scam and failed to block access to the
    number. That could be, at least under US law, construed as
    contributory negligence.

    However IANAL, so....
    Thane, May 23, 2004
  5. Irish

    D Guest

    D, May 23, 2004
  6. His case will presumably fail on the basis that these were
    international calls and not premium rate calls.
    Hiram Hackenbacker, May 23, 2004
  7. Irish

    GwG Guest

    Bit of a contradiction in that last line, isn't there*?

    A friend of mine had just bought a computer, and against my advice,
    wanted to sign up with AOL. I was helping him set up the connection, and
    before he had even registered, and downloaded preventative measures, pop
    ups where appearing on the screen, asking if he wanted to see various
    sex sites. I told him not to click on any of these, and to close them
    using the 'X' in the top corner, but one was very insistent, and took
    several goes to get rid of. He asked why I didn't just choose the
    'cancel' option, and I explained that some of those pop ups will take
    that as an acceptance, and download dialers etc. He said that it was a
    good job that I was there, otherwise he would have probably clicked 'OK'
    just to try and get rid of it. So to say that it is 'THEIR fault" is
    irresponsible, blame the real culprits, those that set up these scams,
    (* and try and cheat people out of money), also some blame must be
    attached to BT, for allowing the scammers to operate, even after they
    know that it is happening and customers were complaining. I bet BT would
    take quicker action if they found the scam was allowing free calls,
    instead of bumping up their profits.
    GwG, May 23, 2004
  8. Irish

    Peter Guest

    I'm sure I may be missing something here, but if the Sao Tome numbers
    weren't premium rate then what possible benefit could be gained from
    tricking peoples PC's into dialling such numbers?



    Remove the INVALID to reply
    Peter, May 23, 2004
  9. Irish

    Bob Eager Guest

    Well, in this country, let me see: you could use 0845, 0870,
    name but three. None of these are premium but all can generate's probably the same in Sao Tome!
    Bob Eager, May 23, 2004
  10. Good job we are not in the US then.

    Also, are you seriously suggesting BT block calls to a specific
    international number?

    a) Is this allowed by their license?
    b) Could the user of that number not sue BT?
    c) Could anyone legitimately wishing to call that number sure BT for
    damages for breach of contract?
    d) It may be against the contract BT has with the countries telco and so
    make them liable for damages?
    e) It would indicate that BT is taking a role in policing the telecoms
    network and perhaps make them liable for every number they don't block!
    f) If BT did this, then what is to stop a virus writer making their
    systems call a legitimate and unrelated service just to make BT block
    all calls to a competitor or someone they don't like?

    What exactly would people have BT do in this case?

    As for the diversion analogy - it is seriously broken. To contort it to
    match the circumstances, it would be more like the "Highways agency" not
    doing anything when someone starts putting "diversion" signs on peoples
    drives - redirecting people before they get on to the public highway.
    Clearly not their responsibility.
    Rev Adrian Kennard, May 23, 2004
  11. There is income to be gained by calling these numbers - but they are
    not defined as premium rate, they are international numbers.
    Hiram Hackenbacker, May 23, 2004
  12. Irish

    obsidian Guest

    perhaps the call gets "hijacked" at some intermediate carrier so never even
    actually goes to Sao Tome
    obsidian, May 23, 2004
  13. Well why not? BT bar call diversion to a range of countries where
    fraud is heavy. Specific numbers could be barred where they are known
    to be used by fraudsters.

    BT are allowed to bar calls to certain numbers where they are
    advertised on phone booths (sex services etc.).
    BT could prvide a graduated barring to International destinations.
    For example based upon region (EU or N. America) or by charge per
    Hiram Hackenbacker, May 23, 2004
  14. Irish

    obsidian Guest

    ermmm, your post contains an attachment...

    obsidian, May 23, 2004
  15. Irish

    Peter Guest

    But who gains the income? If I were able to somehow set Bill Gates PC
    to dial my home phone number in the UK he would be charged for an
    international call to the UK, but I wouldn't benefit. The only
    beneficiaries would be the two telcos and whoever carried the call for
    Are you saying that this scam is likely to have been set up by the Sao
    Tome telco in order to obtain more terminating call income?
    If a third party, i.e. not either telco involved or the company
    carrying the call, benefits financially then by definition the call
    must be a premium rate call, the fact that it's also an international
    call is immaterial?



    Remove the INVALID to reply
    Peter, May 23, 2004
  16. Irish

    Peter Guest

    So who benefits? Where does the money for the call go then?



    Remove the INVALID to reply
    Peter, May 23, 2004
  17. Irish

    Bob Eager Guest

    All together....OH NO IT DOESN'T...!
    Bob Eager, May 23, 2004
  18. Irish

    Bob Eager Guest

    A slice of it goes to the person who has the terminating number. As for
    0870 calls in this country (for example), which are also not premium
    Bob Eager, May 23, 2004
  19. Revenue share is commonplace in the UK on 845/870 and 871 numbers but
    these are not classed as premium rate. Only calls classed as premium
    rate are premium rate and for the UK theses calls start 09.

    The fact is that these (disputed) calls are international calls plain
    and simple and they are charged at the appropriate international rate
    for the Country concerned.
    Hiram Hackenbacker, May 23, 2004
  20. Irish

    Arne Anka Guest

    Begin I alt.privacy.spyware, sa obsidian utan att tänka först:
    No it does not - it is your client that is broken... :0)

    X-Posted to uk.telecom,alt.privacy.spyware

    Arne Anka

    Men det värsta är inte själva baksmällan,
    den verkliga pärsen börjar när gårdagens
    oundvikliga sanningar börjar rullas upp för en...

    Arne Anka, May 23, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.