Dialers provide access to paid content on the Internet
A dialer is a software that establishes a paid data connection to the Internet. These dial-up programs gained negative feedback in the past because it was difficult for most Internet users to recognize that they were installing a dialer that may end up in exorbitant connection costs. However, as long as the user agrees to use the dial-up program and is informed about its cost structure, this is a reputable practice to pay for calling up chargeable websites or using other online services, for example the e-commerce sites, via the telephone bill. Even today, many Internet users view these programs skeptically, there is no reason to be, at least if a dialer is used legitimately.
Mass use of dialers for Internet rip-offs
Especially at the beginning of the 21st century, many Internet users fell for the dialers’ questionable installation mechanisms and found themselves facing horrendous claims. Back then, dialers dialed into the Internet via expensive 0190 connections. The content accessed was then billed by the minute.
Amendment to the Telecommunications Act limits fraud with dialers
Due to the escalating problem, the Telecommunications Act (TKG) was tightened in 2003, so that dial-up programs had to be registered with the Federal Network Agency and openly communicate any charges incurred. However, the registration of dialers with the Federal Network Agency does not constitute a seal of approval. However, since only one dialer is registered under a given phone number, the program and thus its operator can be identified via the phone number appearing on the telephone bill. In addition, the Federal Court of Justice strengthened consumers’ rights in the following years and ruled that charges from dialer programs used unknowingly do not have to be paid.
Dialers use 09009 numbers
Since the beginning of 2006, dialers have only been allowed to dial into the Internet via an 09009 number. Blocking this number range prevents dialers from dialing into the Internet unintentionally. In addition, distributors of these programs are required to display three consent windows during the download, installation and activation process. The price for using the program must be specifically stated without misleading words.
Almost everything is safe with DSL connections
In principle, dialers are only problematic if you go online via modem or ISDN. Then, the programs can disconnect the existing data connection unnoticed by the user and dial in again. Since many Germans have a DSL connection nowadays, this problem has been reduced considerably. However, if an analog or ISDN connection is installed in addition to a DSL connection, a dialer can use it. If you want to prevent a dial-up program from installing itself unnoticed and becoming active, you should simply remove the corresponding cable to the ISDN or telephone connection.
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