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'Dial 9' email (still) a hoax, says watchdog

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Net users are being urged to bin an email doing the rounds (yet again) warning them of a premium-rate phone scam. Telephone watchdog, ICSTIS, says its received dozens of calls in the last few days from people concerned that they could be ripped off if they fall for the con.

The emails claim people could be hit with a bill for £260 if they "press 9" and listen to a recorded message offering them a free all-expenses paid holiday. Another apparent scam relates to people phoning a "missed call" number beginning 0709. Anyone calling the number will be charged £50 a minute, warns the hoax email.

However, ICSTIS says this is all utter tosh and has urged anyone who receives one of these emails to bin it and not to pass it on.

Said the regulator: "Please note that these stories are NOT true. £20.00 per minute and £50.00 per minute premium rate tariffs do not exist - the highest premium rate tariff available is £1.50 per minute.

"Despite the dozens of enquiries received by ICSTIS about these 'scams' (and most people appear to have heard about them 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 these 'scams' to delete it immediately. Please do NOT forward it to others."

Last year ICSTIS had to take similar action after Wiltshire Police published a statement on its website warning people against this entirely fictitious scam. ®

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