ComReg has the power to require, on a case-by-case basis, that access to numbers or services be blocked and to require undertakings to withhold relevant interconnection or other service revenues where this is justified by reason of fraud or misuse. The powers under Regulation 23(2) of the Universal Service Regulations are invoked for the purposes of preventing fraud or misuse of Irish numbers and for the protection of both end-users and operators.
ComReg considers that this power may be invoked in circumstances such as:
- the hacking of PBXs (companies’ telephone systems). In this type of misuse, the hacker remotely gains access to a company’s PBX and begins making calls to international destinations. Generally the hacker’s aim is to generate a high volume of calls to a particular destination which generates revenue for the hacker. The end user which is the victim of this misuse can face bills of many thousands of Euro for these calls from their communications provider. In these circumstances ComReg may intervene in the often complex billing arrangements between domestic and international communications providers and require that the payments resulting from this type of misuse are withheld. Typically, when ComReg intervenes in this way a communications provider will not hold the hacked end user liable for the calls.
- The sending of large volumes of unsolicited communications (typically SMS) to consumers, which are likely to result in the recipients responding and thereby unknowingly incurring charges. Typically, the original unsolicited communication that is received by consumers and does not include details, of the nature or price of the service.
Should a business or communications provider wish to report a Misuse incident to the Wholesale Compliance team, the following form should be completed:
Operator Misuse Notification Form
Regulation 23(2) Process – An Operator’s Information Notice