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ICSTIS has yet to recoup a single penny after fining 16 premium-rate phone services £1.3m following a crackdown on rogue operators.

In March, the premium rate watchdog warned punters to be on their guard against dodgy operators using illegal Automated Calling Equipment (ACE). The ACE was used to call people telling them they had won a cash prize or holiday, but those who fell for the scam ended up phoning expensive phone numbers for nothing.

Using emergency powers, ICSTIS shut down 19 services in all running prize scams. It also managed to fine 16 of the providers a total of £1.3m. At the time ICSTIS director, George Kidd, said that the watchdog had "acted fast to stop the harm".

Today, though, a spokeswoman for ICSTIS admitted that so far the regulator had failed to prize any of the fines from those fingered for the scams. The admission comes as ICSTIS fined three other services £100,000 each for running similar ACE scams over the Easter weekend.

All three - Interiors London, Ocean 3 Ltd and Telecom Promotion - had their services supplied by Allied Telecommunications, the same phone provider linked to the 16 other services. Allied Telecommunications is currently being investigated by telecoms regulator Ofcom. ®

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