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Generous to a fault
This issue was written by one of our regular readers and Dr.Web community contributors
A person with a generous soul — we say that if someone isn’t seeking to profit from providing a service, often acts magnanimously, and is generally big-hearted—in both a material and an emotional sense. But sometimes such generosity can result in significant financial losses for the person with the generous soul.
"Always a real friend, my son shared the Internet with everyone on the bus. He did not know that that’s expensive", says Valeriy Matsenovich, a resident of Dzerzhinsk. In June, his 11-year-old son went to Bulgaria for a health break. On his way there, the youngster connected to the Internet in roaming and opened a hotspot for the rest of the kids—there were about 50 of them in all. As many as 15 kids got online—they watched movies and played games. As a result, Valeriy Matsenovich, the registered owner of the SIM card, received an invoice for roughly 14,500 rubles.
We’re talking about Belarussian rubles, and that amount equates to about 7,500 USD according to the exchange rate in effect at the time of the incident. The child, like his friends, simply did not know what the consequences of such kindness could be. And after returning from vacation, he was very upset—as were his parents, for whom the debt incurred for the communication services was an impracticable sum.
For most of us, when our account balances are low, we don’t immediately lose our access to our mobile services. Mobile operators usually explain this away, saying that their subscribers use the expense credit system and can pay off their debt whenever they want, and that they can’t just leave people without mobile services in a foreign country. In addition, when people utilize roaming, the partner companies involved can take a long time to submit the billing data. Sometimes people don’t find out that their balance is low until after they’ve returned home. When located in a foreign country, users usually pay much more for the Internet—such services can cost tens of rubles per megabyte. On top of that, users can unknowingly use the Internet in roaming—for example, this can happen in border areas when a mobile phone suddenly connects to a station with a stronger signal in another country. One call or one visit to a social network to read your friends’ news—and you’re in the red.
Summer is around the corner. This is when people traditionally go on trips or vacations. To avoid suddenly getting hammered with debt for overusing communication services, you need to control your use of mobile traffic.
- Contact your mobile operator and consult with a specialist on using communication services abroad and on how they do their billing, and choose the tariff that is most advantageous for you.
- You can go into the red without even touching your mobile device. Be sure to check and configure the application’s automatic update option. Disable informers, weather widgets and other applications that can constantly access a network to receive data. Disable data transmissions via cellular communications.
- Before your trip, download everything you may need: offline maps, taxi applications, etc.
- Some operators may charge a fee even for hanging up. If a call is unwanted, do not answer, or decline it.
- If possible, connect to a local operator or buy an international SIM card.
- In Dr.Web Security Space for Android’s firewall, you can enable or disable Wi-Fi, mobile Internet, and the Internet in roaming for each application by using the appropriate options in the “Access to data transmission” section.
- To allow or block the use of mobile networks to download updates:
- On the main application window, press Menu and select Settings.
- Select the “Update virus databases” section.
- To block the download of updates via a mobile network, select Update via WiFi.
Enjoy your travels without unexpected expenses!