09 Numbers and Fraud

Posted by Voipfone on October 3, 2016

09 Numbers and FraudOf course not all 09 numbers are crooked, some are just toe-curlingly expensive ways of buying an ‘entertainment’ service and some provide convenient ways of getting valuable information. But it’s routine for all manner of crooks to abuse these numbers so as a policy Voipfone bars them by default – we’ll open individual numbers for individual users that wish to use them on request.

But generally, 09 numbers are a very bad idea, so I was annoyed to find one on my elderly mother’s BT telephone bill. This is what I got when I checked PhonePayPlus – the premium number regulator – for the number on the bill, 0906 1593028:

Customer care number: 0198 976 0533
Customer care website: Wye Valley Promotions Ltd has not provided this information
Search result provided by: Wye Valley Promotions Ltd
Service connected on: 06 July 2016
Service terminated on: This service is still operating
Name of service: Prize Jackpot

PhonePayPlus recently fined Wye Valley promotion £120,000 for four breaches of their code:

“Between 12 November 2012 and 21 March 2014, PhonepayPlus received 36 complaints from consumers in relation to a prize draw service, (the “Service”) operated by the Level 2 provider Wye Valley Promotions Ltd (formerly Macintyre and Dodd Marketing Limited) (the “Level 2 provider”) on the premium rate shortcodes 84228, 88222 and 88810 and various premium rate 09 numbers. The Service operates by sending promotional letters containing an ID number for the Service to consumers. The letters invite consumers to send a keyword to a shortcode (six messages at a cost of £1.50 per message), call a premium rate number (£1.53 per minute from a BT landline (with a minimum five minutes and 35 seconds charge)) or write to the Level 2 provider to ascertain if they have a winning ID number. The Service commenced operation on 11 June 2003 and continues to operate.
Generally, complainants stated that they had received unsolicited charges. Those who acknowledged interacting with the Service stated that it was misleading and/or the cost was not clear. In addition, a significant number of complaints were made on behalf of older people or otherwise vulnerable consumers.”

My mother says she hasn’t called the number. But she’s elderly and confused and may well have responded to one of their “you’ve won a prize” junk mailings.

I didn’t want my mum to fall for more of this nonsense so I rang BT and asked to call bar all 09 numbers as she felt she had been scammed and didn’t want to be tricked again. They refused but were happy to sell her a call barring product for £4.25 per month – kind of them eh?

BT, if your listening, isn’t it time you took some social responsibility for those that may be harmed by the services operated over your network?

09 number barring should be a free service available to all – you’ve had the technology since the 80’s, there’s no excuse.

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