ON A SERIOUS NOTE – FESTIVE ROBBING HOODS

by Jeanne Hambleton ©

You will, of course, understand why I am a trifle worried about passing on the following information but it came to me via a reputable company after being circulated to members and I have checked the Internet ‘watchdog” who seem to know enough about this number for us to be careful about ringing it. It would seem the ‘scam’ if that is the right word, began in 2005 but being the festive season and a time to send parcels (if we are able) we should view with suspicion any notes left through our letter boxes.

The email I received made the following comments (without prejudice) –

Can you circulate this around especially as Xmas is fast approaching – it has been confirmed by Royal Mail. The Trading Standards Office is making people aware of the following scam:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number). DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize.

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call. If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 02072396655 or http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk.

Phonepayplus was originally called ICSTIS, the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Service Information, but recently changed its name.

Please log into this website to read what this has to say –
http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/numberchecker/DisplayServiceDetails.asp

I have looked at Trading Standards Central and this referred me to Phoneplayplus. Go to this site and enter the rogue number into ‘check a number’ on the top left of the webpage. You will see….

This is what we know about the number you entered (09066611911).

We have the following information about this number.
• This is a Parcel Delivery Service. ICSTIS removed access to this number in December 2005. Recipients received cards in the post suggesting a parcel was unable to be delivered and the premium rate number should be called. This service costs £1.50 per minute (Plus any phone network surcharges – please check with your phone company for full details).

• This service has been adjudicated upon.

• We also have contact details for the company that provides this service. If you have any queries about it, please get in touch with them to find out more.

Studio Telecom – email – studiotelecom@gmail.com
1 Mapp Street, Belize, Belize City, Central America.

Whilst Phonepayplus endeavours to publish accurate information concerning the above services, it does not guarantee the information or its accuracy. Therefore it cannot be held liable for any losses, whether direct or indirect, as a result of reliance upon the accuracy, or any other usage, of the information provided.
It is however a useful website for checking rogue numbers together with the premium rate numbers (prs), including the three 09 numbers (090,091 and 098), 118, 070, 0871, 00 international calls, and the costs for the mobile short codes (sms), It also deals with some useful terms including Calling TV, and links. It is certainly worth viewing.

There is more information about this potential hoax on the following website –

http://www.sophos.com/security/hoaxes/parcel_delivery.html

The following chain letter has been distributed widely. The chain letter contains factual inaccuracies, as a £15 telephone tariff does not exist.
According to ICSTIS (The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services), the chain letter does have some basis in fact however. A scam was operating in late 2005, which encouraged the public to dial a premium rate number that would charge them at £1.50 per minute. However, those numbers were closed down on 29 December 2005.
Of course, it is possible that other scammers could set up different premium rate numbers and attempt a similar fraud. Anyone who receives a suspicious communication is advised to contact ICSTIS.

Another hoax buster website –

http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/pds.asp

described this story as true. In December 2005 this was an on-going scam but there is now no reason to believe that someone else will not try it again with 090 UK numbers or 900 North America numbers. Another number used to mislead consumers is an 809 area code. Apparently some cards left through letterboxes regarding a failed delivery mentioned digital cameras.

The Snopes website claim the company was fined and barred from using misleading direct mail to promote their company. This hoax buster website states that although some of this information may appear to be out of date, this type of scam forms part of a common pattern for telephone fraud.

This scam has been used earlier and could possibly be used again this Christmas. Watch out for unexpected premium rate charges on your telephone bill and look out for anything unfamiliar. Please report telephone fraud to Phonepayplus to check the telephone number. Why not share your experiences with us?

Check a report by BBC Northern Ireland Radio Ulster – Your Parcel’s in the Post

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/oyb/proginfo_27-10-06.shtml

Not satisfied with landline telephone fraud I am now told the “robbing hoods” are at it with the mobiles.

If you receive a call on your mobile from any person, saying that he or she is a company engineer, or telling that they are checking your mobile line, and you have to press #90 or #09 or any other number, end this call immediately without pressing any numbers.
There is a fraud company using a device that once you press #90 or #09 they can access your “SIM” card and make calls at your expense.
Forward this message to as many colleagues, relatives and friends as you can, to stop it.
Snopes.com website also confirms that #9-0 allows the caller to make long distance calls at your expense. The callers also try to encourage the receiver to make 809 area code calls.
Barbara “safety PIN” Mikkelson on the Snopes.com website also warns about handbag snatches with credit card, purse and mobile telephone. By the time the victim had recovered and telephone her husband, to her dismay she learnt he had already had a telephone call asking for the pin number. Inside 20 minutes the thief had allegedly withdrawn all of the money from their bank account.
The moral of this story is carry just what you need for that trip and keep a record of the card numbers and numbers to contact in case of theft. Also put the mobile in a different pocket or another bag.
However Snopes warn that due to conflicting reports it recommends the story is regarded as a precaution rather than a true story. But nevertheless, it should serve as a warning to us all. We are also cautioned that a text message can come from anyone and does not rule out the possibility the telephoned is in the hands of an unauthorized person. If anyone receives a call on your stolen mobile, they may believe it is you
The thought also occurs to me that if you have ICE (In Case of Emergency) on your mobile address book, you are making it easy for the thief to find out who is your next of kin is and where he/she can be contacted. Food for thought!
Finally do not forget during this busy season to keep your credit card in view all the time – in restaurants, shops, anywhere. Mobile telephones have cameras and your credit card and all its numbers could be in the next picture. Credit cards are used on line without pin numbers.

Make sure you have a good Christmas – not a sad and sorry one. Take care and beware. Jeanne.

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