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View Full Version : HELP! clearnet is stealing $3054 from me!



bjf4
03-11-2004, 05:20 PM
My friend has an adsl account with clear, she hardly ever uses it (I keep telling her its a waste of money) because she only checks emails, and for that she does it at uni anyways. Anyhow, they have charged her more than $3000 for usage over 2 months, that she CERTAINLY has not used, thats about 37gig or so over the limit, this girl barely knows how to check email, let alone download anything that could achieve such an amount of usage.
I called them and spoke to a tech, and he couldn't believe it either, and he checked over it all and said that according to his system it has been used, and he couldnt really help me and put through to billing, and this guy was a real (excuse the language) *******, I was polite and all, yet he kept laughing at me saying thats its bad luck, the usage us their and now she has to pay for it.
They said that it must be a virus?? but I really dont think so considering she hardly ever uses her home pc, and it would have to be on 24/7 to rack up such downloads as the connections are crappy there anyways.
What can we do? I think it was direct debitted, is their anyone we can go to? they have taken all of this girls savings, I'm not even sure if she can eat or pay rent or anything now as she is a poor migrant who can hardly speak english, thats why I had to call for her! And also they didn't explain any of the joining terms and conditions to her clearly enough for her to understand, and they only contacted her via email about this extra charge, yet she didn't even know how to check that email account...
Maybe I should call that Target t.v show???
anyone have any ideas how we can fight this?

Spacemannz
03-11-2004, 05:30 PM
The only thing I can think of , which may have caused this, is she has a dialler on her system. Which will dial out to some unknown place overseas somewhere.

And you will get a massive bill at the end of the month.

I would scan her system with Adaware/Spybot/Hijackthis. To see if any of them pick up any nasty diallers. And remove it/them.

All of that $3054, may have nothing to do with the usage. BUT with the dialler, (if there's one in the system), dialling out, all over the place.

Billy T
03-11-2004, 05:32 PM
1) Who else has access to her computer.

2) Is it online 24/7 whether she is using it or not?

3) If the answer to 2 is yes, has it been checked for spyware, viruses and other nasties?

4) Get the answers to these questions then go above the level you have been dealing with at Clear. Don't use words like ******* and don't assume it is their fault, it almost certainly isn't but it could be a billing error.

If it is not a billing error then it is not their problem, end of story!!

She subscribed for a service and one way or the other she has used it to excess. Unless Clear made a mistake they can't be blamed for expecting payment. You don't get free petrol just because you fill your tank with more gas than you have money for.

Try to find out how that has happened then ask them very nicely to consider her financial circumstances. If you feel too angry or upset to do this properly, and she can't speak good enough english to sort it herself, enlist some external assistance.

No doubt somebody else will suggest people who might be able to help.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

HadO
03-11-2004, 05:34 PM
That's pretty intense...

Either Clear has made a mistake or someone has obtained her login details somehow.

If the money has been direct debitted I doubt you'll be able to get it back unless they have made a mistake.

This is the reason I have put off getting ADSL up till now (no excess data charges).

No ideas sorry.

theotherone
03-11-2004, 05:38 PM
Good answer Billy. I wonder if one of her friends has been using her machine to download stuff, or as you say has she got a dialler.
I make a point of disabling my wireless connection when I am not around, and turning off the modem overnight, and keep a check almost daily on my usage.

alphazulusixeightniner
03-11-2004, 05:53 PM
I would look up your accounts/usage section and see whats going on. What kind of plan was she on?

Ask them to prove she used that much data.

Big John
03-11-2004, 06:34 PM
If the ADSL was on 24/7 then everyone must be aware that they could get these big bills.

The reason for this is that the traffic may not have even originated on her PC. It could be a DOS attack on her IP number. Heaps of people scanning for open ports on her IP, etc.

While you cant see this happening it is counted as traffic and you will get charged for it if you go over. You need to be always checking your usage.

I use TUC to keep an eye on mine and it sits in my tray as an icon.

Murray P
03-11-2004, 06:35 PM
Yep, suspect a dialler dailing 0900, so called, high value numbers, a hack of some kind like a spam relay or some unkind person accessing her machine.

The dialler would be the easiest to dispute, some have been blocked by some ISP's, some ISP's have refunded on a moral basis. There should be a log of this activity. They can also rack up big bills in a relatively short time period.

A I think you would be out of luck as far as a spam relay or hack goes but, 37GB is a heck of a lot of spam or data of any kind to go through one machine undetected.

Someone accessing her PC while her back was turned will be hard to find good evidence for that may be used to recover her money. Logs may prove it has happened but that's not evidence in itself of who. A baited trap could be set, red handed would be best, caution would be required.

Cheers Murray P

Murray P
03-11-2004, 06:37 PM
BTW, you imply that the PC is not connected 24/7, is this correct.

Cheers Murray P

george12
03-11-2004, 07:14 PM
You're all talking about diallers?!?

She has ADSL!

That is, the modem she uses is not even capable of dialling phone numbers.

I suspect either attack from remote system, rogue app, or somebody using her computer.

Ask the ISP to produce a log showing exactly how that traffic was used, and tell us what that log says.

George

sam m
03-11-2004, 07:26 PM
I doubt that diallers are involved otherwise the bill would be from Clear/Telecom as international toll calls.

Hard one to prove as I am sure that they must hear that story all the time (not saying your friend is lying) but the onus now lies in your court to prove that the usage was not by her. Even if it was proven that someone had used the computer fraudently then it is still her responsibility.

Agree with the try higher up approach. Maybe someone with some clout could get the usage investigated again with detail which could help find out why it got so high.

Question? If it was Direct Debit, why didnt she cancel the DD when the bill arrived? That way Clear would have more reason to investigate if she STILL owed the money. I can imagine now that the money is in their bank they might not try too hard.

good luck
sam m

drcspy
03-11-2004, 07:32 PM
george12 is correct a dialler only works with modems not adsl.........however others have suggested that it could be a number of other reasons and this could be tru..........traffic logs will help

Murray P
03-11-2004, 07:57 PM
Your absolutely right George :8} a waste of hot air. I wonder when the first VOIP rogue connection will turn up :D

I would think you would be entitled to look at the logs, good suggestion.

Cheers Murray P

jferg
03-11-2004, 08:13 PM
If she has a file sharing program installed people may be uploading off her machine which also counts towards traffic used. It's not only downloads!

drcspy
03-11-2004, 08:20 PM
yeh lol seen that one catch someone out before $2700

Baldy
03-11-2004, 11:40 PM
She probably has a file sharing program such as Kazaa or WinMX.

Berryb
04-11-2004, 10:56 AM
If she is still using the ADSL connection then change the password NOW if you haven't already done so. If the user name and password has been revealed then anyone with a ADSL connection can use it, not just from her computer.
As Others have said you have to check for Virus, adware etc to discount those options.
Check the usage online to see when this usage took place and still check for ongoing usage. This may give you an idea of a source.

whtafo
04-11-2004, 10:58 AM
> If she is still using the ADSL connection then change
> the password NOW if you haven't already done so. If
> the user name and password has been revealed then
> anyone with a ADSL connection can use it, not just
> from her computer.

Umm as far as every ADSL connection I have dealt with is concerned the data transferred is tracked to the phone account, not the username and password.

Murray P
04-11-2004, 12:17 PM
> > If she is still using the ADSL connection then
> change
> > the password NOW if you haven't already done so.
> If
> > the user name and password has been revealed then
> > anyone with a ADSL connection can use it, not just
> > from her computer.
>
> Umm as far as every ADSL connection I have dealt with
> is concerned the data transferred is tracked to the
> phone account, not the username and password.
>


So, someone would need to set up something like a VPN?

Cheers Murray P

whtafo
04-11-2004, 12:24 PM
> So, someone would need to set up something like a
> VPN?
>

Yup, it's been done before - routers with web interfaces open to the world with default usernames and passwords.

Though it's kinda defeatist in terms of stealing bandwidth as you've still gotta pipe it out thru your own connection.

Murray P
04-11-2004, 12:50 PM
> > So, someone would need to set up something like a
> > VPN?
> >
>
> Yup, it's been done before - routers with web
> interfaces open to the world with default usernames
> and passwords.
>
> Though it's kinda defeatist in terms of stealing
> bandwidth as you've still gotta pipe it out thru your
> own connection.
>


Unless, perhaps, if it's a zombie connection or connections?

Cheers Murray P

Berryb
04-11-2004, 01:36 PM
Yes your user name and password is tracked to a phone number, this is how you are billed. But the user name and password is not only usable on that phone number/line. If I new her user name and password then I could use her account, she will be billed for the data and I would get free internet. My Jet Stream is with Ihug but I can log into and use an Xtra account as long as I have the user name and password. This may not be the case in the future if I move to the new Blink plans but it does work at the moment.

For example Jetstream games works on the same theory.

Cave Servant
04-11-2004, 01:50 PM
Clearnet does not have ADSL with Residential customers, only businesess or staff.

Have you logged in and checked the usage, thru

http://www.clear.net.nz/services/usage-highspeed.html

you also need to know what type of plan your friend is on IE 600Mb plan, like the rest have said Spybot, Adaware or its a type of P2P.

POTUS
04-11-2004, 01:51 PM
Yes, it's either file sharing or a rougue program of some sort. I have heard that there are various programs that highjack a system and can be used remotely to send spam and such like. I read recently that in the USA ISPs are planning on disconnecting PC that are being (mis)used in this way because it's reached epidemic proportions over there. Virus check, adaware or spybot and firewalls need to be run to determine the cause.

Just because she doesn't use the PC much, or know much about how to use it doesn't mean that she's not prone to such attacks. Quite the opposite IMO.

Her ISP is not responsible for her PC or the software that's running on it. There have been several cases in Australia where the ISP or Telco has revised bills, but they're not obliged to do so.

Greg S
04-11-2004, 02:14 PM
> george12 is correct a dialler only works with modems
> not adsl.........however others have suggested that
> it could be a number of other reasons and this could
> be tru..........traffic logs will help

That's almost true - an internal (pci) adsl modem can act like a regular modem and dial out on demand from whatever application calls for it.

Anyway - it's apparent (at least to me) that she has a trojan/worm imbedded. But it's about time that people took ownership for their online abilities - it's not dissimilar to getting a driver's license. Her account could not have incurred the costs unless she was online. Pay, I say!

Graham L
04-11-2004, 02:26 PM
True, Greg, but computing has been thoroughly marketed as being so easy that you don't need any knowledge. "Where would you like to go today?" (After all, once you've got a computer you can turn off your brain. Many people do. ;-) )

As a cyclist I never expect any car driver to have their brain engaged, so driving licences aren't much of a protection. :D


The Cellphone companies got into trouble overselling 2 year contracts with no pre payment to people who had no chance of paying the bills.

Greg S
04-11-2004, 02:31 PM
> True, Greg, but computing has been thoroughly
> marketed as being so easy that you don't need any
> knowledge.

Yeah. This issue has been discussed in a lot of forums recently. What's the Latin... Caveat Emptor or something.

I'd like to see a Pf1 sticky topic on the basics of Internet security, specially adsl which is getting rammed down un-knowledgeable throats

fairway
04-11-2004, 03:05 PM
I find the best way to get the use of another person's connection/bandwidth is to ask them for their user name and password.
Very basic I know but a lot of people are trusting, not understanding the the bigger picture.

Big John
04-11-2004, 03:11 PM
> That's almost true - an internal (pci) adsl modem can
> act like a regular modem and dial out on demand from
> whatever application calls for it.

BUt it can still only connect via ADSL. It can't dial 0900 numbers.

Billy T
04-11-2004, 03:45 PM
I kinda can't help wondering why bfj4 hasn't checked back in with further info. ?:|

If this was such a red-hot problem I would have expected some feedback by now. There's a heck of lot of good advice going begging here.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

mark c
04-11-2004, 03:50 PM
Good one Billy T. I'd think with three thousand at stake he would be pretty intersted, though OK it's not his debt, but is a friend's.

Maybe busy on the phone to the ISP.

Murray P
04-11-2004, 03:56 PM
Are there "high value" sites that bill to your phone number for MB usage, a la how ISP's billing works?? Reading up on the dialer troubles of some Yank's a while back it appeared that not all was via 0900 numbers but by connections to websites even if the person had never viewed the material or bought any goods (as opposed to a services). Am I on the wrong planet?


BTW, clear.net's definitions of Flat Rate and Unlimited appear to be interchangeable which is at variance with discussions on PF1 a little while back. "And with the Flat Rate plan there are absolutely NO extra data charges" they go on to call these same plans Unlimited on anothe page with regard to ADSL and ISDN services.

Cheers Murray P

Billy T
04-11-2004, 04:05 PM
My concern is that the longer he leaves it the harder it is to retrieve the situation and it sounds like his friend who has incurred the debt is not going to be a whole lot of help to him.

The sooner a formal complaint/request/proposal or whatever is lodged with Clearnet the more credence they will have. I do a bit of this sort of work from time to time on behalf of others and the faster you get there the easier it is to fix.

Cheers

Billy 8-{)

Big John
04-11-2004, 06:43 PM
> Are there "high value" sites that bill to your phone
> number for MB usage, a la how ISP's billing works??
> Reading up on the dialer troubles of some Yank's a
> while back it appeared that not all was via 0900
> numbers but by connections to websites even if the
> person had never viewed the material or bought any
> goods (as opposed to a services). Am I on the wrong
> planet?

You must be. No other company can add money onto your bill with another company without explicit instructions from you. And if they do you can take them to court and get the debt wiped as you did not agree to pay it.
I had a company (I wont say who because there has been enough whinging about them already) making charges to my credit card. I told them to stop and reverse the charges. They said they where not doing it so I called visa and got them to reverse the charges. They faxed me a sheet of paper I had to sign and then faxed it back to them. They reversed the charges.

Jester
04-11-2004, 10:41 PM
Just a thought on the inetrnal adsl modem issue. If it was an internal modem (or external USB modem/router) then surely the connection would drop out when the PC is off. That's not to say that the person doesn't leave the PC on all the time, however, in my experience, those who are not heavy users generally only turn them on when they want to use them.

J
:D

POTUS
04-11-2004, 10:58 PM
I wonder if we'll ever find out what actually happened. It's strange that bjf4 hasn't posted since the initial post.

Murray P
05-11-2004, 12:49 AM
> You must be. No other company can add money onto your
> bill with another company without explicit
> instructions from you. And if they do you can take
> them to court and get the debt wiped as you did not
> agree to pay it.
> I had a company (I wont say who because there has
> been enough whinging about them already) making
> charges to my credit card. I told them to stop and
> reverse the charges. They said they where not doing
> it so I called visa and got them to reverse the
> charges. They faxed me a sheet of paper I had to sign
> and then faxed it back to them. They reversed the
> charges.

That's what I thought, but the situations I was reading about painted a completely different picture for the poor sods in the US of A who were being billed by 2nd, 3rd and in some cases 4th parties via their telecoms accounts. I'll have to dig it up again but, IIRC, they were not all dialup accounts that were being affected but some seemed to be combined with telecoms, ISP, TV et al.

Just goes to show it's not all bad news in our neck of the woods.

Cheers Murray P

godfather
05-11-2004, 08:27 AM
They were dial-up murray, just plain "premium rate" toll numbers.

The thread was on TSG
http://forums.techguy.org/showthread.php?t=224491

Although some charges were billed even when dial-up was not available, which suggests something less than honest in that case.

Has no relationship the the problems of the poster here though as far as I can see.

mark c
06-11-2004, 08:42 AM
Can't remember where I read it, somewhere online, but there was a scam in the states where people set up a bogus phone company and sent out masses of bills for confusing sounding things like "national data forwarding" and enough mugginses paid the bills for them to make on it.

Then they got busted.:_|