The crackdown, announced this week and due to come into force Oct. 4, will block calls to 13 locations--all but one of them far-flung islands--to deter fraudsters from breaking into people's computers and hijacking their modems for profit.
The government-appointed Commission for Communications Regulation said it was obliged to act after receiving more than 300 complaints this year from Internet users who discovered that their connections had been altered without their knowledge--with financially disastrous results.
"These people found out only when they got their telephone bill, which might normally be 80 euros ($100), and found out this time it was 780 euros ($1,000)," the commission's spokesman, Tom Butler, said in an interview Thursday.
He said the biggest ripoffs reported so far were two businesses that unwittingly ran up connection costs of around $15,000 and $22,000 respectively. All the victims were users of dial-up modems.
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