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Fraud & Mis-Use

BEWARE TELEPHONE FRAUD & COMPUTER MISUSE

This is to advise you of the latest fraud hitting users of fixed lines and mobiles, according to a communication received from the Police. We also include information of more established frauds and, common problems arising from careless use of computers.


1. Upon answering the telephone, you may 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. Even if you disconnect immediately, it will remain connected for a minimum of 5 minutes, and could cost you around £100. The final part of the call involves you being asked to key your post code and house number (which may have 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 could be £260. Since the calls are originating from outside the UK, BT and other telephone service providers such as ourselves are left powerless to act. The only safe solution is to HANG UP before the message prompts you to press 9; even safer is to HANG UP on any unsolicited 'free offer' call. This appears to be a variation on a theme, warnings have been sent previously regarding calls made by individuals claiming to be engineers conducting a test on the line and asking for 9, 0# and text messages similar to the routine described above. DO NOT DIAL 9 (or 9,0# or 0,9#) FOR ANYONE ! BT has been contacted and they confirm the details are true.

2. Be aware that any 09 number is a premium rate line, and will probably cost you more than you think. Upon your specific request we can bar all 09 calls from your line, or more specifically you can bar your computer from sending any internet calls to us. 'Rogue 09' calls are a growing menace for dial-up accounts {not Broadband) on the internet, only now receiving official attention. You can unwittingly trigger a change in your dial-up number by visiting certain internet sites or following certain links. This may cause you to run up a large bill for calls to an 09xxx premium line number. When we discover evidence of this activity we immediately advise our customers, but this can be up to 5 weeks after the rogue calls start. We cannot reimburse you, as none of our telecom carriers will accept responsibility for these calls.

3. Normal 0845 calls to the internet can be a problem if the computer does not time-out and cut the call. ISP's make money out of receiving 0845 calls, so in general none of them operate any sort of time-out. Our carriers do operate a very long time-out, which does provide ultimate protection from massive charges, but this protection does not help much in instances where the computer persists in dialing, and staying connected, until carrier time-out. Our advice is always to check your computer is off-line, when not in use. On Windows machines Start, Control Panel, Network, will show you what is currently connected. We can do nothing about such charges, as we have no control over what traffic you send us. '

And finally a real nasty, also advised by the Police, applying mainly to mobile phone users. A missed call comes up. The number is 0709 020 3840. The last four numbers may vary but certainly the first four numbers, 0709, will be consistent. 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, or call back, any numbers beginning with 0709. From any phone.