070 numbers - The latest scam or a useful tool?
by Jo Shaer, on June 5, 2014
This came in to the Contact Form on our website.
I would like to talk to you about seo for my some websites
please call me as possible 0703 *** **** amd lets discuss,
i have a number of site [name of domain]
we have a very large project as well id like talk about plus small
sites like [name of domain]
please look at our movie to see our big project
look forward to dicussig my projects in detail
It looked like a pukka enquiry. He had valid, if very confused websites. He had Google+ and LinkedIn profiles with a photograph.
So we arranged an appointment to call John.
However, on the day, I just looked at that phone number and the alarm bells went off.
Our Jon just thought it was a mobile number but it didn't look right or feel right to me.
So I Googled 070 numbers.
And, oh, I am so glad that I did!
070 numbers - a useful tool
It would seem that 070 numbers are Follow Me numbers. They were originally intended to help tradesmen who could not be near their landline.
So, if you are not able to use your office number whilst you are out and about, you can forward it to an 070 number and the calls will be routed through.
The caller gets charged different amounts per minute to ring these numbers. In many cases, it is more expensive than calling a mobile.
And this blog post tells how the scammers have found a way to route that cash into their own coffers - at up to 50p per minute.
Scammers using 070 numbers
Because the latest scam is to get unsuspecting people to call you back... and keep you talking!
And what better way than to leave messages via the contact forms of business websites? Messages that look like genuine requests to do business.
[Tweet "Beware the 070 scam - let's talk business!"]
You see why my ears suddenly pricked up.
I had received a request to do business via my contact form and an 0703 number.
I sent John a message asking if he had a proper landline number.
And, yes, he did. He gave me the same 0703 number plus another number... in India.
We did not call John.
And he did not call us or respond again.
In her blog post from 2010, Mrs Blog has done a lot of investigation but neither Offcom nor Phone Pay Plus have been very helpful in identifying that there is actually a scam here or doing anything to prevent it.
This notice from Oftel says that they are putting an end to the practice of revenue sharing on 070 numbers but the article is undated.
I have also seen press articles on Google of job seekers and web hosting customers being ripped off by these premium lines.
The 79 comments on Mrs Blog's post give examples of the various ways that this scam continues to be perpetrated with the latest in April 2014.
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