Along with web spoofing, sniffers, and phishers, another Internet-only scam involves rerouting your Internet connection. This scam begins by inviting you to view pornographic graphic files. The catch is that if you want to view these files, you need to download a "free" program.
Once you have downloaded this "free" program, it takes control of your modem, turns off your computer's speakers, cuts off your local Internet connection, and then secretly dials a number in the former Soviet republic of Moldova.
The more time that people view the pornographic files, the longer they stay connected to this foreign Internet service provider, which may ring up toll charges of $2 to $3 a minute. The customers don't realize they have been scammed until they receive their phone bills.
Although the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut down the original scam shortly after it appeared, watch out for copycat scams. Anytime a website requires that you download "free" software before you can continue browsing their web pages, watch out. If you have an external modem, watch the status lights to make sure your modem doesn't disconnect and then mysteriously reconnect all by itself. If you have an internal modem, your only defense is to be careful whenever a website lures you into downloading "free" software as a prelude to spending more time browsing the Internet.