phone scam hoaxes

i recieved the following email at work today:

Phone Fraud - Warning
We have been advised of a telephone fraud currently in operation - this applies to home and work telephones, landlines and mobiles.

If you receive one of these fraudulent calls, upon answering the telephone you will hear a recorded message congratulating you on winning an all expenses trip to an exotic location. You will then be asked to press 9 to hear further details. If you press 9 you will be connected to a premium rate line that costs approximately ?20 per minute. Even if you disconnect immediately, it will remain connected for a minimum of 5 minutes costing around ?100. The final part of the call involves you being asked to key in your postcode and house number, which has other serious consequences. After a further 2 minutes you will receive a message informing you that you are not one of the lucky winners. The total bill by then will be ?100 (though Trading Standards have confirmed to me that there's some question about the actual costs, but they're still extortionate) .

Since the calls are originating from outside the UK, BT and other telephone companies are left relatively powerless to act. The only safe solution is to HANG UP before the message prompts you to dial 9, even safer HANG UP on any unsolicited 'free offer calls'.

There is another scam operating on mobile phones as well. A missed call comes up. The number is 0709 020 3840, the last four numbers may vary, but certainly the first four will remain the same. If you call this number back you will be charged ?50 per minute. People have complained about their phone bills, once they have realised the cost of the call, but apparently this is completely legal. So beware, do not call back numbers beginning with '0709'.

needless to say, it's all a hoax or urban myth. basically, there are no phone lines that cost more that GBP 1.50 per minute. any that do cost this much will start '09' - these numbers are regulated by ICSTIS. anyway, when called by someone, pressing digits on your phone will never cause any amount to be added to your bill - this is just impossible. as long as someone else calls you, they will be paying for the call. the number '9' has no special functions when pressed during a call.

any phone number beginning with '0709' is a 'find me anywhere' personal number, as defined by OFCOM, and they have been allocated to various companies. admittedly, the pricing structure for these numbers can be somewhat confusing, ranging from local rate to mobile-equivalent rate, and including fixed price per call. however the BT pricelist lists the rate bands. these will be charged by BT at no more than 50p per minute.

a summary of the charges, in pence per minute is shown below:

0709 01 k 37.5p
0709 02 pn2 50.0p
0709 03 pn3 49.0p
0709 04 pn4 26.0p
0709 05 pn6 20.0p
0709 06 j 32.0p
0709 07 pn2 50.0p
0709 08 k 37.5p
0709 09 k 37.5p
07091 k 37.5p
0709 20 k 37.5p
0709 21 k 37.5p
0709 22 k 37.5p
0709 23 k 37.5p
0709 24 k 37.5p
0709 25 k 37.5p
0709 26 k 37.5p
0709 27 k 37.5p
0709 28 k 37.5p
0709 29 k 37.5p
0709 40 pn2 50.0p
0709 41 pn4 26.0p
0709 42 k 37.5p
0709 43 k 37.5p
0709 44 pn9 23.5p
0709 45 j 32.0p
0709 46 pn2 50.0p
0709 47 k 37.5p
0709 48 e 5.0p
0709 49 k 37.5p
0709 65 pn2 50.0p
0709 66 pn2 50.0p
0709 67 pn2 50.0p
0709 68 pn7 4.0p (plus 50.0p fixed cost)
0709 69 pn5 17.0p
07099 0 d 16.7p
07099 2 f 30.0p
07099 4 pn2 50.0p
07099 5 k 37.5p
07099 6 k 37.5p
07099 8 pn2 50.0p

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