Feeds

Watchdog hits 070 swindlers with big fine

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

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?