Premium rate numbers have always been a royal pain in the arse, these days they are pretty much old news and very few respectable companies will ever use them, you may see them being used for TV competitions or newspaper comps, but they have to be clearly advertised as such, giving you an exact breakdown of what you will be paying.
But there are now many scams operating across the UK which rely on the victim calling on a premium number service, and some of the charges being levied are eye watering to say the least, with many calls costing as much as £30.00 a time. So how do the scammers work, well today I want to outline the two most common methods being used, one is an online scam and the other is target directly at you and your phone.
Online premium rate scam
This one works by exploiting our desire to actually speak to someone in person rather than communicate by email, especially when we need to talk to a large company or government agency, it works by offering you a customer service number on Google when you search for a particular number, in the results you will see what appears to be a number for the company you are looking for, its looks legit and it even gets you to the company by directing your call, however the numbers itself is in fact a premium rate number, and every minute you are on the call the cost is shooting up and up, the fact is you need to ensure any numbers you dial come direct from the website of the company you wish to talk to, always double check, I will at the end of this piece give you a list of premium rate prefixes you need to look out for and avoid.
Missed Call Scam
This one is very sneaky, and it’s very basic too and relies on our natural desire to know who has been calling us and to find out what that missed call was all about, you receive a call from a number you haven’t seen before, it’s not in your contacts list so you have no idea what it’s all about, quite often the call will only ring out for a very brief second, this is to prevent you from actually answering the call, the scam works when you call it back, and here is the really sneaky bit, the call answers as soon as you dial but immediately plays a recording of a phone ring out, so you don’t know you are connected, all the time you are on the call you are paying a premium rate, quite often these types of call can cost you £20.00 or more.
To avoid these types of scams never ever call a number back you don’t know, and always check online on the actual website of the company you need to talk to before dialling a number, below is a list of premium rate numbers you need to watch out for, any numbers which start with these prefixes should be avoided at all costs.
To avoid being ripped off in this way, you should firstly never use numbers beginning with 084, 087, 090, 091 or 098 when calling government advice lines.
No official government service would ever use an 084, 087, 090, 091 or 098 number to deliver a legitimate government service