Premium rate 070 number scam under investigationConsumers should beware missed 070 phone calls

11 December 2008

Blue mobile phone

Four premium rate 070 phone number providers are under investigation, following complaints by the public that the phone number providers had been using underhand measures to prompt consumers to unknowingly call 070 premium rate numbers.

PhonePayPlus, the regulator for premium rate service provider, says it has launched four separate emergency procedure investigations against H. Naveneeth, K. Felix J. Paul, T. Jaya Kandan and Mr Jaswinder Singh following complaints from the public that indicated that the service providers' misuse of 070 premium rate phone numbers was seriously breaching the PhonePayPlus code of practice.

What is 070?

Phone numbers starting 070 can easily be mistaken for mobile phone numbers, which also start 07. However, in reality phone numbers that start 070 are charged at a premium rate. 

In the case of this PhonePayPlus investigation, the four premium rate number services are charged at 50 pence per call, plus 3.95 pence per minute at all times from landlines, and potentially considerably more from mobile phones.

How the 070 premium rate scam works

The complaints about the 070 premium rate scam relate to consumers receiving missed calls to both landlines and mobiles from 070 prefixed numbers. These calls are terminated after one ring which prompts the consumers to call back the premium rate 070 number, believing it to be a genuine missed call. 

Depending on the premium rate phone service under investigation, consumers have reported hearing a continuing recording of a ringing tone, or have been connected to a voicemail messaging facility, upon callback. In each case, consumers have been charged at a premium rate from the commencement of the ringing tone heard.

PhonePayPlus concerns

The premium rate regulator believes that each of the premium rate scams may breach its code of practice in several ways. 

Due to the very serious nature of the alleged breaches of its premium rate code of practice, PhonepayPlus has invoked its emergency procedure to bar access to phone numbers associated with the four 070 premium rate services with immediate effect.

The bar on access applies to all phone numbers on which the four premium rate services have been operating. In addition, all revenues payable to the four service providers have been withheld by their individual network operator pending the outcome of the investigation.

Say no to 070

A PhonePayPlus news release relating to the 070 premium rate scam investigation states that: 'PhonepayPlus is concerned about the volume of calls made to members of the public. 

'PhonepayPlus believes that the services in question offer no value to consumers and that the use of emergency procedure is necessary to promptly remedy the apparent harm to consumers.'

Which? telecoms expert Ceri Stanaway says: 'We're glad that PhonePayPlus has responded swiftly following complaints from the public about this 070 premium rate scam. Phone numbers that start 070 can be easily mistaken for mobile phone numbers so it's not surprising that consumers believe that they're receiving a genuine missed call.

'Misuse of 070 premium rate numbers is a sneaky, underhand way to con people out of money. Anyone receiving a missed call to their mobile phone or home phone from an 07 number that they don't recognise should be wary. If the third digit in the missed 07 phone number call is a zero, do not call the number back and report it to PhonePayPlus.'

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