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Phone scam warning exposed as hoax

Urban myth number 352

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An email warning people to beware of a phone scam that could cost them £20 a minute is a hoax.

The email warns people about receiving a recorded message which tells them they've won a prize, and then asks them to press '9' to hear further details.

Warns the email: "If 9 is pressed, this connects you to a premium line that bills in the region of £20 per minute. Once you dial 9 and connect, even if you disconnect immediately, the call will stay connected for a minimum of 5 minutes (£100).

"If you stay connected, after 11 minutes a recorded message asks you to key in your postcode and house number. After a further 2 minutes callers receive the following message:

"'Sorry, you are not one of the lucky winners.'

"After this the line disconnects," the email says.

Not only are phone owners tricked into running up bills of up to £260, the email adds that BT is "relatively powerless to stop the calls".

A spokesman for the UK's dominant fixed line telco said he'd received a number of calls on the subject.

"It's a hoax, technically impossible, an urban myth," he said. ®

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