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back to article Personal numbers must carry cost warning, says regulator

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has ordered that from September, callers to so-called "personal numbers", which start with the digits 070, must hear a warning on the call's cost for free before being connected if the call will cost more than 20 pence. The regulator also said it is considering scrapping the 070 numbers because users …

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Anonymous Coward

But why aren't the fraudsters publicly prosecuted?

An uncharged warning of the impending charge is a good thing. It should have been done from the outset. Nor just for 070, but for *all* rip-off numbers including 0870 and 090.

But it should also be obvious to most sensible people that the person who made the calls from the £2 number was doing it for fraudulent purposes.

So, why isn't the perpetrator named, and undergoing a very public court case?

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Anonymous Coward

Changing the prefix won't be popular

I seem to recall that when these 'personal numbers' first became available they were (foolishly) marketed as numbers you could keep for life. Changing the prefix won't go down well!

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What's a Personal Number?

Might be being daft here but whats a personal number then? Presumably not the kind where old men are looking for a like minded 20 year old blonde women with legs that never stop, DD bra size and a GSOH?

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Anonymous Coward

ICSTIS Schmicstis

"ICSTIS said that it only dealt with 070 numbers if they are being used for a premium rate style service"...

How is £2 for a 15 second call NOT a premium service? Even the max premium rate line is £1.50/minute which is cheaper than the 070 number at £8/minute!!!

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Anonymous Coward

*NOT* a premium rate...

Yes, the maximum premium rate call charge from BT is £1.50/minute... but the maximum personal number rate call charge *from a BT line* is only 50p/minute!

See:

http://www.serviceview.bt.com/list/public/current/Call_Charges_boo/0016_d0e5.htm#0016-d0e5

... for the exact rates.

Virgin have been very quiet on this... perhaps they'd like to comment on WHO ACTUALLY RECEIVED the difference between 50p/min and £2/min claimed to have been charged?

I have used an 070xx personal number for some years and I will not be very happy to have to change it just because the mobile companies have YET AGAIN been caught ripping-off their own customers...

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Anonymous Coward

Personal Numbers

These new 'personal numbers' are also referred to as 'follow me' numbers.

The only reason I know about them is that I nearly phoned one recently, thinking it was related to legitimate business, but then realised that the prefix looked a bit odd and I wanted to find out what network it was attached to.

070 numbers are forwarded to real mobile or land line numbers, but can also be forwarded to premium rate numbers. This is where I don't get how the scam is possible, as I thought that the owner of the forwarded number got charged for the connection to the target number. That is certainly the case with my own 0845 number - I pay for the forwarded connection to my mobile.

God knows when these things were introduced, it was definitely done 'on the quiet'. The only reason I can see for allowing forwarded number charges to be passed on to the end user are fraud, and I reckon that OfCOM should stomp on that rather than requiring some pathetic warning.

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Anonymous Coward

A Personal Number

"Might be being daft here but whats a personal number then? Presumably not the kind where old men are looking for a like minded 20 year old blonde women with legs that never stop, DD bra size and a GSOH?"

I wish... but it is actually a number that can be freely transferable to any phone number. I've got one that I give out for business so that I can take calls on the line that I will be on for the period, including my mobile.

Calls to it cost the same as calls to a mobile so I'm not quite sure where these reports of premium rates or higher are coming from.

PS. I am posting this anonymously in case I get overwhelmed by a horde of 20 year old blonde (I prefer brunette myself) women... looking for a like-minded old bloke.

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Silver badge

Gotta love the excuse

"Ofcom would have helped if . . " he had paid the India-based call center instead of sending a memo, and including a board member on top of that. What cheek !

"Officer, help me !"

"Sorry ma'am, you have to dial 911 first".

Yeah, that sounds like a great excuse. Keep up the good work, Ofcom, you're being more appreciated every day.

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re ICSTIS Schmicstis

It was £2 for a 15 second call... from a mobile. Chances are it was "20p a minute from a landline, calls from a mobile may vary".

Either way, it's ridiculous. The only cure I think is to develop a sense of inflated importance like me: I miss a call from an unknown and they don't leave a message, well they can call me again later!

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Silver badge

This is a personal number

A personal number is a generic phone number that you can set to divert to a real number. It can be used like an email spam-trap that some people use (Like when they want to sign up for an online service, but not give their email address), you give the number to people you dont want to know your real number, and simply drop the number if it gets called by the wrong people.

This makes it perfect for scam artists who need a number to keep in touch with their marks, and want to drop it when the scam is done, or for scambaters who want to try and rack up huge charges on the scammers bills.

You can often get them "free" from phone number providers (like the blokes who sell 08 and 09 numbers).

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This will scupper everything

I've had a personal number beginning 07050 for over ten years now. Since then I have changed my mobile phone on half a dozen occasions but just re-pointed the virtual number each time, thus avoiding the tedium of going around all my associates explaining about the number change. Virtual numbers certainly are more expensive than a normal mobile number and the virtual operators live in the margin. Last time I looked though (admittedly in the distant past) I thought we were talking a few pence per minute not two quid a time.

Perhaps it's time to get with this new-fangled thing of porting your old mobile number when you buy a new one.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

"I've had a personal number beginning 07050 for over ten years now. Since then I have changed my mobile phone on half a dozen occasions but just re-pointed the virtual number each time"

I've had the same mobile number for 7 years, on 3 different networks. Thanks to that not so new innovation called free Mobile Number Portability I've kept the same number all that time without resorting to rip-off numbers.

I do own a 07050 no for use as a spam trap similar to my hotmail address but neither are ever used for anything of worth.

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Anonymous Coward

070 vs 06

Working within the billing dept of a mobile phone operator, I hope they decide to reallocate them to 06 prefix as it will save a lot of unjustified complaints.

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Silver badge

Re: But why aren't the fraudsters publicly prosecuted?

<rant class="ConspiracyTheory">

The reason the fraudsters aren't being publicly prosecuted is most likely because they're "in" with the politicians and Fortune 500 majority shareholder plutocrats running this planet. Only plebs like you and me would get prosecuted if we tried to make a buck by such underhanded means. And if anyone thinks this is just a conspiracy theory, explain how retards like Bush get into power, and avoid war crimes tribunals, but through their dynastic family connections? I guarantee you will never see any public prosecution or mass media exposure of these criminals. Unless one of them "falls out of favour" like Rutherford, Aaronson and Jones in Orwell's classic. But then they would more likely become just another road-toll statistic - or a Guantanamo Hotel patron...

</rant>

I actually wonder how many people were called by this 2 quid number and rang back, and how much the scammer behind it made? Does anyone actually *have* this number, and is there any way of doing a DNS-type lookup to find out who registered it? It would be interesting to see the results of a class-action pursuit of this person/company and how far it would go.

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