Mobile phone owners have been falling victim to a new mobile phone scam, racking up mobile phone bills for hundreds of pounds for calls to 0845 and 0843 numbers that they insist they never made. The 0845 missed call scam has hit hundreds of mobile phone owners, leading to the telecommunications regulator Ofcom to launch an investigation.
Several victims claim that they never called the premium rate number yet still chalked up huge bills, according to The Telegraph, despite mobile phone networks such as Vodafone insisting that the calls took place.
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What is the missed call scam?
The missed call scam relies on mobile phone owners returning a missed call to their mobile phone.
It appears as a missed call from an 084 or 070 number, and usually is from a call that lasts less than a second.
In order to work, the scam relies on our natural curiosity and desire to not seem rude, which results in people automatically returning the call. However, phoning the number back can result in you inadvertently running up a huge bill.
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How does the missed call scam work?
The missed call scam works with crooks deploying an army of automated dialers ringing random mobile phone numbers.
If they get through to your mobile phone, they quickly hang up before hunting out the next victim.
Your mobile phone lists the missed call, and when you call the number back to find out who it was, you’ll end up paying a high price for the phone call as the scammers set premium rates to that number.
The crooks get a share of the revenue generated by calls made to the number.
How do I avoid the missed call scam?
If you get a missed call on your mobile from an unknown number, think carefully before calling it back.
- Most legitimate callers will leave a voicemail message, telling you why they rang and how to call them back. If you have a missed call and no accompanying voicemail, it's best to leave it. If it's genuine and important, they will call you back.
- Avoid suspicious numbers. Be especially careful about returning missed call numbers that you don’t recognise. Numbers to watch out for include 070, 076, 084, 087, 090, 091 or 118.
- Prevent calls to premium rate numbers. Speak to your mobile phone network provider to place a bar on calls to overseas and premium rate mobile phone numbers, especially if you do not usually make those types of calls.
- Put a PIN on your phone. Put in place a password to open your mobile phone, so you can’t accidently tap a missed call notification while your phone is in a bag or pocket.
- Remove the missed call. If you spot a suspicious missed call on your call list, carefully delete it from the list to stop you accidentally dialing it back.
- Contact your mobile phone network. If you think you received a missed call that’s likely to be a scam, contact your mobile phone network operator as soon as possible. This means they can limit the cost – and even waiver the cost – of any calls made to the number, and they can block access to the number to save others falling victim to the scam.
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