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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August, 2004, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Rogue PC rings up 700 phone bill
Elaine and Clive Chivers
Elaine and Clive Chivers want to get in contact with other victims
A couple have been hit with a 700 bill for premium rate phone calls made by their computer without their knowledge.

Elaine and Clive Chivers, from the New Forest, were shocked to receive the massive bill after they downloaded an internet dialler by mistake.

The law as it stands means that they are liable to pay the full amount.

They say they are sure other people are in similar situations, and they want to form a campaign group to appeal for a change in the law.

For people in much worse financial situations than we're in - this would be a great disaster, not just a great annoyance
Clive Chivers
The dialler made hundreds of calls over a three-week period, even when the couple thought the computer had been turned off.

Mrs Chivers said: "It's an invasion of my privacy, it's an invasion of my home and it's taken a month's salary.

Her husband said he was sure there were other people who had suffered even greater losses than they had.

"There must be a lot of people out there who have had the same kind of problem.

"For people in much worse financial situations than we're in - this would be a great disaster, not just a great annoyance."

The telecoms watchdog Ofcom recently promised to look urgently at the problem of premium rate numbers, after a surge of complaints about dial-ups.

The software is often downloaded without the user's knowledge, and replaces the usual dial-up connection to internet service providers such as BT or AOL with the premium rate number.

BT say they can provide blocking to premium rate numbers if asked, and that they will block traffic to premium rates suspected of being rogue diallers.

The BBC's Quentin Sommerville
"There's been an explosion in the number of complaints"

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24 Jun 04  |  Technology
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25 Nov 02  |  dot life
Action call on premium rate fraud
02 Jul 04  |  Norfolk


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