International Modem Dialing Scam
The international modem dialing scam involves tricking a person into disconnecting their usual internet service provider dial-up service and instead using a "dialer" program which is actually charging them high international telephone rates, money that goes straight into the pockets of the scammer. While most modern Internet technology involves cable or DSL Internet service, many areas in the United States only have dial-up Internet service available, therefore still fall victim to this type of fraud.
The scam begins with the victim visiting certain websites with content they want to view and not pay for, such as adult websites. The website claims that they do not have to pay to view their content or even submit credit card information, but instead they are requested to download a program called a "viewer" or "dialer" program. They insist this program allows them to view the content free of charge, and the victim often times does not know much about technology and therefore falls for this lie.
Once the victim has downloaded the program and installed it onto their computer, the program will start up and disconnect them from their Internet service provider and immediately dial an international long-distance number. This causes extremely high long-distance phone rates on the victim's bill. Not only does the victim now owe hundreds or thousands of dollars from this long-distance dialing program, but the scammer may also have installed spyware or viruses on the person's computer which allows them to receive their personal information, in yet another way to phish a person in order to steal money.
One way to avoid getting caught up in this type of scam is be weary of any website requiring you to download a program in order to view content. Secondly, block your line from making international calls if you use dial-up service to prevent this from happening. While there are still loop holes a scammer can get through, it will still be an extra step toward protecting yourself. Be sure you always have a program on your computer that detects illegal activity such as spyware, malware, and viruses. It should inform you if a program you are about to download or website you are about to visit, is safe or not.