Feeds

Watchdog hits 070 swindlers with big fine

'Hello, hello, can you hear me? Give me £200,000'

Boost IT visibility and business value

Regulators today signalled a crackdown on scammers who use 070 numbers to con people into calling premium lines in the belief they will be charged at the normal mobile rate.

PhonepayPlus said that its first adjudication on an 070 operator had resulted in a £200,000 fine for Jack Barnard Telecom Services Limited, based in Essex. The maximum fine the premium rate watchdog, formerly known as Icstis, can levy is £250,000.

Victims of the sting would answer a seemingly legit call from a number beginning 070365 that would play a recorded message saying "Hello, hello, can you hear me?" and then hang up. Many would then return the call unaware that 070 numbers can be charged at up to 50p per minute from a landline and more from mobile networks.

The tribunal found that Jack Bernard Telecom Services had breached the PhonepayPlus code of practice on legality, fairness, and failure to provide contact details. Because the consumer harm was "serious and required urgent remedy", the tribunal was convened under emergency procedures. The investigation was initiated in July, when a bar was placed on all the numbers being used for the scam.

Ofcom, which has ultimate responsibility for regulation of phone numbers, is reviewing 070 lines. Current rules say they are only for personal use, such as allowing mobile workers to give out a single contact line for several locations. The strong association of the "07" prefix with mobile phones has left the system easily exploitable by premium rate fraudsters, however.

In July 2006 Ofcom said it would end use of 070 redirects within three years to clamp down on abuse. Personal users will be offered a non-07 number range to make it easier for consumers to spot when they might be redirected to a premium rate line. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.