Feeds

Watchdog hits 070 swindlers with big fine

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

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
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
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.