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Pre-pay fraud hits BTCellnet

Stolen credit cards used to top up accounts

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BTCellnet's pre-paid mobile phone package – Pay As You Go – is at the centre of a credit card fraud scam. A security loophole has meant that thieves have been able to use stolen credit cards to top up mobile phone accounts, BT admitted today. There have been over 300 cases of people being defrauded since April, according to today’s London Evening Standard. The technique is relatively simple, and BT has been blamed for leaving the problem unsolved for so long. Until today, thieves have been able to key any credit card number and its expiry date into their own Pay As Your Go handsets, and use the air time. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have disappeared from back accounts. Following a string of complaints, BTCellnet has looked into the system and identified the faults. The company said it had rectified the problems and hoped there would be no further fraud cases. A spokesman said measures had been introduced which now made it impossible to pre-pay for calls without using a registered credit card belonging to the owner of the handset. But victims were said to be furious that they had been left open to this abuse for so long. David Carroll, a recruitment consultant, was alerted to the problem after having £50 withdrawn on six separate occasions in one day from his Visa debit card. This cash was used for BTCellnet phone accounts. "The fact that this loophole has been left open for so long indicates that BT does not give a damn about the public. It's only £300 to them, not a lot of money, and they couldn't be bothered to put proper checks in place," he said. BTCellnet, which has one million subscribers, said the problem was now sorted out, and blamed computer hitches for the delay. "It has taken us until now to rectify the problem as it was a lengthy task to restructure the IT involved," said a BTCellnet representative. ® See also: BTCellnet to up prices to counter profiteering

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