£500k Fine

Silicon.com reports that UK watchdog ICSTIS is getting heavy with mobile scammers. So far it’s handed out fines of more than £500k.

Scams come in two flavours:

1. SMS to people’s phones claiming that they’d won a prize. They then had to dial a Premium Rate number to claim. Only to find that they hadn’t really won anything.

2. Actually, rather cleverer, they ring a mobile number and hang up. The curious then call the number, which turns out to be a (you’ve guessed it) a Premium Rate number.

It’s great to see ICSTIS getting tough, but you’ve got to wonder at the gullibility of some of these people. It’s like the endless parade of people conned by the 419 scams. What planet are they living on when they think that some nice foreigner with dodgy English is really going to hand over 45 trillion dollars to someone they don’t know?

One of the best phone scams I heard was in the 80’s. Some guy used to advertise a car at a real bargain price Ò but not suspiciously low. Respondents to the advertisement were answered by a woman, claiming to be the wife of the seller.

ÏJust hang on a minuteÓ callers were told. ÏI think the carÌs still available, but my husbandÌs in the garden. IÌll just check.Ó And the caller was kept waiting and waiting and waiting÷÷. connected to a Premium Rate number.

Then there was the guy who pretended to be a motorcycle courier with a package for a man with a very unusual name. ÏPackage for Mr BlitheringcoopÓ he would announce.

The receptionist, of course, said that Mr Blitheringcoop didnÌt work there, so our friendly courier asked to use the phone. HeÌd then have a conversation with his Dispatcher, who was actually imaginary Ò he was connected to his own (you can see this coming, canÌt you?) Premium Rate number.

So, telephone cons are as old as the telephone. TheyÌve just migrated to mobile now

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