State Warns Of Internet Phone Hijacking

The state Public Service Commission is warning Internet users in South Mississippi to be on the lookout for a new Internet fraud scheme, "modem hijacking."

Public Service Commissioner Michael Callahan says people should check their phone bills for long distance charges that they didn't make. They could possibly be the result of modem hijacking.

Modem hijacking is one of the newest Internet fraud schemes being used by some web sites. The problem occurs when the Internet user is encouraged to download a "viewer" that will allow access to material at no cost to the user.

But downloading the software actually allows the hijacker to perform secret operations with the computer. The hijacker can shut off the sound to your modem, disconnect you from your Internet service provider, and connect you to an international phone number.

Callahan says the best way to prevent the fraud from happening is to put an international call block on your phone line. In all the cases the State Public Service Commission has received, AT&T has been the long distance provider involved. You can call 1-800-222-0300 to order the international call block.

You can also call the Public Service Commission at 1-800-356-6429 or visit their web site at