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Orange takes steps to block mobile spam

Forward it to the operator for disposal

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For those who haven't registered with the Telephone Preference Service - offered by the Direct Marketing Association in the UK - "cold calling" by sales offices can be a real nuisance - but text-spam can be downright expensive.

The more honest ones, says Orange, are at least up-front about the fact that they are going to cost you money: VIP Ticket: Congratulations U can claim 2 VIP row A 2 C Blu in Concert in November or Blu gift Guaranteed. Call XXXXXXXXXXX to claim Ts&Cs www.xxxxxxxxxx.co.uk £3.75max. is one example.

However, recently, a series of trick texts have been received by mobile users, pretending to be voice-mail alerts.

The callback number given is a 'local call' (prefaced by 0870) number. But if you call that, you're given the bait ("You've won the lottery!") and an expensive premium-rate 09xx phone number to call. The cost of this is not mentioned.

The premium-rate regulator, ICSTIS, can close down scams of this sort; but as quickly as one 09xx number is blocked, the scammers move to another. And it seems that some of the operators of the 0870 numbers are ignoring the Telephone Preference Service people altogether.

Now, Orange has set up a new service whereby if you get unwelcome text spam, you can forward it to Orange directly, and they'll deal with it.

Forward any spam messages to 7726 free of charge from your Orange phone. And (Orange adds) "if you receive a spam text message, you can also report it by calling ICSTIS free on 0800 500 212 (open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday) or by sending an email to ICSTIS direct.

The TPS site tells how to register with telephone preference service - and they are pretty effective at stopping illegitimate traders.

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