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‘Dial 9’ scam snares Wilts Police

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BT and premium rate phone watchdog ICSTIS have once again reassured punters that an alleged phone scam that could cost them £20 a minute is a hoax.

The intervention of BT and ICSTIS follows a statement by Wiltshire Constabulary published on its Web site on Friday warning people to be on their guard against the alleged scam.

The statement warned punters not to press the number 9 on their phone if they receive a call telling them they've won an "all expenses paid trip to..." wherever. If they do, warned police, they could be liable for a whopping bill of £260.

A spokesman for Wiltshire police told The Register that a number of people had received the "phone call" but was unable to say whether anyone had been charged for the call.

ICSTIS is known to be keen on speaking to Wiltshire police in a bid to clear up this misleading hoax.

Wiltshire Police have now removed the warning from its Web site.

A spokesman for BT, told The Register: "The technology doesn't exist on a BT line to make a reverse charge call by pressing a single button."

And here's what ICSTIS has to say on the matter.

£20 Per Minute Telephone 'Scam' - An Urban Myth
Over the last few days ICSTIS has received hundreds of enquiries about the above 'scam', which is being widely publicised by e-mail. To help us put an end to the current spate of enquiries, please pass this information on to all contacts.

The apparent 'deception' takes place when people receive a recorded message informing them that they have won an all-expenses paid holiday and are asked to press 9 to hear further details. It is then claimed that callers are connected to a £20.00 per minute premium rate line that will still charge them for a minimum of five minutes even if they disconnect immediately. It is also claimed that, if callers stay connected, the entire message lasts for approximately 11 minutes, costing £220.00. Please note this is not true.

A £20.00 per minute premium rate tariff does not exist – the highest premium rate tariff available is £1.50 per minute. Despite the hundreds of enquiries received by ICSTIS about this ‘scam’ (and most have heard about it second or third-hand), not one person who claims that it has actually happened to them has been able to produce a phone bill to support their story.

ICSTIS urges any individual or organisation that receives an e-mail about this scam to delete it immediately. Please do not forward it on to others. ®

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