Florida Investigating Claims Of (censored)Internet Porn Charges
POSTED: 4:56 PM EST January 8, 2004 WFTV News
CENTRAL FLORIDA -- Thousands of people are being billed for using an Internet porn site they never visited. Now the state of Florida is investigating the Internet billing company and searching for more victims.
The company is called Alyon Technologies and at least 20 states and the Federal Trade Commission have already sued them, but they're still in business.
Alyon Technologies markets itself as a service to drive new customers to Internet sites. They do it using pop-up advertising and, many times, those customers don't even know they're being targeted until they get the bill.
The company uses pop-up windows and targets people who use dial-up connections. But as Daryl Cameron learned, just clicking the "X" to close them doesn't always work.
"There are windows that pop up behind windows I'm currently in and, as I'm working on the Internet, half hour or hour later I'm being billed for that entire time," says Cameron.
He didn't know that until he got this bill for $165 dollars from Alyon Technologies, a company he'd never heard of. "So I actually went on the Internet and found dozens of sites that have said this is actually a (censored)and there are lots of people caught up in this (censored)"
More than 20 states, and even the Federal Trade Commission, have filed lawsuits against Alyon, alleging that the company links Internet users to pornography sites without their knowledge and then bills them $5/minute until they realize and close the link.
"I think a lot of people are probably getting (censored) by this 'cause they're embarrassed to step forward and say, 'Hey, this isn't mine, I didn't make this charge,'" says Cameron.
The Florida Attorney General is investigating Alyon after receiving 173 complaints. In some cases, the bills exceed $700. Daryl has now added himself to that list.
"Well, of course, I would hope I don't have to pay the bill because I don't feel I was charged fairly, and also I hope this would somehow enact legislation where this couldn't happen again," he says.
A spokesman for Alyon Technologies says the company is not out to deceive anyone. It billed about 300,000 customers last year and says the confusion is sometimes related to a wrong phone number, since it's billed through the dial-up service.
"300,000 customers last year" Think of it. All the individuals they falsely billed and harassed, all the families they disrupted, all the harm Alyon and its supporters must have done.
It is a Cosmic debt that will be paid and God will be sending the bill sooner then they know,
Crescent City 32112, Florida