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MEPs vote to outlaw phone prize scams

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The European Parliament voted last week as expected to outlaw telephone prize scams as part of a new package of EU consumer protection measures.

The new rules should make it harder for scammers to trick punters into running up hefty phone bills by promising people they've won non-existent prizes.

Now that the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive has been given the green light, the UK government and the other EU countries are obliged to adopt the rules into their national laws and to make sure they are enforced.

UK Lib Dem MEP, Diana Wallis, reckons the scammers' days are numbered and has called on the UK Government to implement the law as soon as possible.

"The law will apply not only in the UK, but throughout the EU, so scammers will not be able to hide away in other European countries," said Wallis, who insisted that it was "good news for British consumers".

While the legislation will apply to scammers operating in the EU, critics warn that rogue operators will simply shunt their operations outside of Europe.

Responding to the criticism Wallis told The Register : "We have to start somewhere. Much of it [telephone scams] is home-grown and we need to get to grips with the problem here in the first instance." ®

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