Hidden charges on the Internet?

Posted on 1998-07-22
Last Modified: 2008-03-06

I live in Belgium and want to know something about hidden charges on the Internet. Unlike in the US we pay about $0.8 per hour to surf.
I am on the Internet about an hour a day, but recently my telephone bill is three times as high as it should be. And there are some charges on it that seem to be of 0900 numbers (pay per minute: I am not sure how this is called in the US).
I am sure that no one else has used my computer, and quite sure that I do not have a hacker problem. Also I do not visit pornographic or warez sites, but do download a lot of software.

What I like to know is: how do you know if you are connected to a 0900 number?
And can an owner of a site charge you in other ways, without you knowing it (until you receive your telephone bill).

Question by:frankhoofd
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Accepted Solution

SirCaleb earned 200 total points
ID: 1821562
frankhoofd, how long have you been using your current internet service provider?  These 0900 number charges are probably associated with your ISP [Internet Service Provider] in some way.  Your best bet is to contact your ISP or Phone company and question them about the charges and ask what the charges specifically are for.
I man is impossible for anyone outside of your ISP or your phone company to make charges to your bill.  I'm sure that you will find the answer from either your ISP or your phone company.  Best of luck.

Author Comment

ID: 1821563
Thanks for answering SirCaleb. I will do what you suggested, but I read about a year ago that someone had put a piece of software on his site. At the same time that people where downloading it, they were connected to an expensive porn site (they did not know this). So the visitors also received a high telephone bill.

Those sites do charge visitors a certain amount per minute, so it
is possible. I do not know if such sites and other pay per minute
sites can be recognised in any way while surfing. When you call any 0900 number in Belgium, you are warned that you will
have to pay an amount per minute. If you do not agree you can hang up. But I do not know how this works on the Internet.

Thanks again


Expert Comment

ID: 1821564
Usually on the have to give them your credit card number....I've been surfing the Internet for 3 or 4 years and I've only seen sites that ask for credit card numbers...yeah...definitely talk w/ your phone company or ISP.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1821565
> I read about a year ago that someone had put a piece
> of software on his site. At the same time that people
> were downloading it, they were connected to an
> expensive porn site (they did not know this).
> So the visitors also received a high telephone bill.

You heard a very-mangled version of the scheme!

First, you had to completely download the software.

Then, when you installed it, it would "silence" your modem,
and then place an international long-distance telephone-call,
through your modem, and then download the pornography.

If you didn't notice that your modem had disconnected
from your ISP, and had reconnected, your long-distance
charges could accumulate.  Your modem had been "silenced",
so you would not have heard the usual modem-noises.

> can an owner of a site charge you in other ways,
> without you knowing it
> (until you receive your telephone bill).

Not "directly", if you connect to their site via the Internet,
since they cannot "trace" you back to your telephone-number.

But, for an international call, your local telephone company
bills you, and then they share your money with the telephone
company in the destination-country.
Perhaps, the destination-site would have a "revenue-sharing"
arrangement with their telephone-company,
so that they received some of the destination-country's
telephone-company's share of the long-distance charges.

Thus, some of your long-distance money gets into the
pockets of the owner of the telephone-number
which the "rogue" software called.


Author Comment

ID: 1821566
Thanks you both for your answers. I do not think it is fair that
only SirCaleb gets the points, but there is no "sharing" option.
I am sure that I will ask other questions in the future. When you
answer, I will make it up to you by increasing the points to 200
Otta. Your answer also made a lot clear.

Thanks again!
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1821567
There is no "automatic" way of "sharing" points.
However, there is a "manual" method.
Go to the "Customer Service" topic,
and indicate that you want to share NN points to AAA
and MM points to BBB for question KKKKKKKKKK,
and the "system-manager" for Experts-Exchange
will do the rest.

Don't bother to do it this time -- I'm only stating this
for "reference" purposes.

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