Posh Spice police suspect in phone crime
And Consumer Association should be interested too
The police said yesterday they were trying to track down a con artist that was compelling people to dial a number but receiving nothing in return - except that is a £1.50 premium-rate charge. We would suggest to the boys in blue that they start their inquiries with Victoria Beckham, wife of footballer David Beckham and formerly talentless pouter in pop group the Spice Girls.
According to media reports, people were being sent a text message saying "Call urgently". When they called the number, they heard nothing but an engaged tone, but unknowingly had been charged £1.50 on a premium rate number.
This isn't quite what's happening at Mrs Beckham's new Web site www.victoriabeckham.mu, but we would argue it comes into the same category.
If you want to see the full horror of what can happen to people if they live within the delusionary world of stardom, we suggest you pay the site a visit. Offering little more than a lesson in clashing colour schemes, it is a flagrant attempt to garner publicity for our Victoria's musical attempts. Failing that it attempts to extort as much money from young kids as possible.
Moving around the celebrity couple's gaudy home, the site threatens to offer you an insight into the Beckham's family life. The thrones which Posh and Becks famously sat on during their wedding ceremony feature in the entrance hall with a little one for their baby. Click on it and you get some very basic facts about them. There is also a slot for listening to her new single and a place to hear her musings on the great questions of the day like: how do you get your hair like that? And do you like sport?
From there you can go to the baby's room, where nothing happens, or see pictures of Victoria. And from there - well, from there you get to join the VIP club which will give you access to the rest of the cartoon house. Joining is simple - just call this number and you'll be given a "unique password".
The password is free, the phone call is not. £1.50 for each call. Then the password can be used fifteen times, but only within 15 days. So basically, Ms Beckham and her marketing team hope that hundreds of young kids will call a premium line, note down a number and enter the site. And then do it every 15 days. They will of course, but is it very ethical? Some would say it was a cynical effort to extract as much money as possible from kids who don't have credit cards. We couldn't possibly comment.
What's beyond, in the VIP area? We don't know. In the name of journalism we wasted £1.50 in getting a 10-digit entry password, handed over our name and email address and were informed that we will be entered for competitions in the future. We suspect the VIP area entry system may have crashed.
Also, why the .mu domain? The PR bumpf says it's because of Manchester United but the truth is that all the other victoriabeckham domains had already gone. We look forward to seeing if Her Highness Beckham takes the owners to WIPO. ®