Spam scams shift from Net to cellphones

Cellnet, Vodafone customers inadvertantly reveal personal details -- Orange subscribers tempted with smut

UK fraudsters have apparently changed their focus away from lucrative Internet scams and have begun targeting mobile phone users instead. One scam involves unsolicited premium line calls while another apparently swipes personal details from GSM handsets to nick free airtime. The first trick takes advantage of the group messaging facilities provided by cellphone provider Orange to its customers. A standard Orange voicemail option allows any customer to record a simple message which can then easily be broadcast to a list of other Orange customers. So male Orange users have been receiving seemingly innocuous messages from a well-spoken female voice --one 'Natalie', apparently -- inviting them to phone her back. Only in the closing sentence does this lady reveal that calls will be charged a whopping £1.50 per minute -- higher than even the phonesex lines advertised on TV and in magazines. The second scam appears to affect GSM 900MHz (Cellnet and Vodafone) users in the Thames Valley/Guildford area. A mystery caller phones unsuspecting mobile phone users, pretends to be a test engineer and invites the recipient to press either #90 or 09#. Allegedly this action will reveal the recipient's personal details which can then be used to make fraudulent calls at the victim's expense. At the time of writing Cellnet and Vodafone were unable to confirm or deny these rumours. ®

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