by Jeremy Malcolm, Internet lawyer
A reader of this column recently contacted me about a telephone bill for thousands of dollars that he was shocked to receive. He had fallen victim to an illegal practice called "Internet dumping". This happens when you are tricked, usually by an adult Web site, into making your computer dial its modem to an expensive timed telephone number that begins with "190" or "0011".
Your legal remedies in this situation depend on whether it was an Australian or an overseas phone number that you were tricked into dialling. If it was a local 190 number, you can phone the 190Complaints line on 1300 139 955, or the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058, who can investigate and if appropriate seek compensation for you.
If it was an overseas number operated by a foreign scam operation, then there is not so much that you can do, except to stop yourself from being fooled again. One easy way to do this is by requesting your telephone company to bar 190 numbers and 0011 numbers from being dialled on the telephone line that you use for the Internet.