Premium Rate Telephone Scams.

24th November 2009

No matter where we are, sooner or later we’re likely to encounter a scam of some sort or another. Whether it be from the internet, over the phone or even face-to-face it’s never nice to get that feeling when you know you’ve been scammed.

The following chain letter has been distributed widely.

“Please pass on…
Royal mail postal scam
This scam has been confirmed by our Royal Mail account manager and is especially relevant as Christmas is fast approaching:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number). DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize. If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call. If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 0207 2396655 or ICSTIS (the premium rate service regulator) at www.icstis.org.uk, or your local trading standards office.”

The chain letter contains factual inaccuracies as a £15 telephone tariff does not exist.

According to ICSTIS (The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services), the chain letter does have some fact in it. A scam was operating in late 2005 which encouraged the public to dial a premium rate number that would charge them at £1.50 per minute. However, those numbers were closed down on 29 December 2005.

Of course, it is possible that other scammers could set up different premium rate numbers and attempt a similar fraud. If you do receive a card asking you to dial a premium rate number, then please visit Phone Pay Plus (the new Premium rate service regulator) at www.phonepayplus.org.uk.

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