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MP asks DTI to explain success of Telecom fraud

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 2:46 pm    Post subject: MP asks DTI to explain success of Telecom fraud  Reply with quote

The telecom fraud in question concerns the fraud that was targeted at thousands of UK families in 2004.
Their story can be read in this BBC program from 11th Nov 2005.
The Great Phone Call Con

I wont include specific details of the case (just now Wink ) but basically a group of business partners set up "service providers"(about 10) in Majorca, to target the UK with illegal "rogue diallers". They were responsible for 20% of all complaints alledging dialler fraud in 2004.

They programmed 3,500 Telecom One revenue sharing premium rate numbers into the dialler software. Throughout 2004 Icstis recieved numerous identical complaints against each of the numbers. Unknown tens of thousands in total.

The complaint:
We did not request any premium rate service.
We did not agree to pay for any premium rate service.
We did not recieve any premium rate service.

Last year (2006) a local MP was sent the background details behind this fraud showing the service providers shared the same addresses and contact details. According to Spanish Companies House they had been registered by the same people.

The MP was asked considering the high level and serious nature of complaint was BT allowed to continue billing and forcing the public to hand over money for these bill.
He passed the quetion on to Margaret Hodge (DTI) who decided Icstis should explain.
Sir Alistair Gaham (Icstis) wrote "not withstandig the complaints" BT were obliged to carry the calls due to the Communications Act 2003.

Any body with any knowledge of consumer protection and criminal law will know this is absolute rubbish.
The MP has requested the DTI to consider a criminal investigation.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a frightening example of these scams Crayon. They just seem to get worse and more prolific all the time as more con merchants realise what big, easy money can be made with these tricks, particularly if they site their operation outside the UK. BT are not really ever interested in helping the victims, principally because they are making significant revenue out of it all.

In reality most of these scams are crimes (fraudulently sequestering money by duress), but the police do nothing, BT do not want to do anything which might reduce their revenue stream, ICSTIS do nothing except receive complaints resulting for the most part in no effective action and Ofcom and Otello just sit watching it all going on like the police cars parked in a lay-by on the A12 watching heavy-goods vehicles speeding past them at 90 mph. If most of these tricks were executed in any scenario other than telecommunications the police would be forced to take action.

As long as we continue to have totally ineffective telecommunications regulation in the UK it will continue to get worse, because ICSTIS is controlled by the very entities who are making revenue from it all and Ofcom are their buddies who do not want to do anything which might lessen the revenue which they can make. Ultimately it is only MPs and MEPs who can achieve any action against all of this now.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reply to my e-mail to Ms Reding MEP who chairs the EU department that is involved with telephony:


Cabinet of Viviane Reding  
Head of Cabinet

Brussels, 05 November 2008

Dear Ardwell,

I refer to your e-mail of 24 September 2008 to Commissioner Viviane Reding concerning the use of premium rate SMS in the United Kingdom (UK). Mrs Reding has asked me to respond on her behalf.

In your e-mail you describe the problem at stake as ‘[...] the receiving of chargeable texts sent by content providers without any authorisation from the mobile phone user’. In this regard you state that the UK authorities, namely Ofcom, PhonepayPlus and the police, are not acting to remedy the problem and that the UK mobile providers (with the exception of T-Mobile and Vodafone) refuse to allow their customers to ‘[...] protect their accounts by placing a bar on premium rate texts.’ In conclusion, you ask for an assessment of this situation and for action to protect mobile users from this problem, which according to your contacts is also present in other EU countries.

In this regard, I would like to inform you that the Commission services are aware that complaints related to unsolicited premium rate SMS have been raised in several EU Member States. There are several provisions in the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications, the implementation of which is overseen by the services of Commissioner Reding, which would be relevant in this case. In particular, Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive) requires, inter alia, that Member States ensure that transparent and up-to-date information on applicable prices and tariffs is available to end-users and consumers. It also provides for the right of subscribers to bar outgoing calls of defined types or to defined types of numbers free of charge. However, the obligation to make this facility available only applies to operators designated as universal service providers (i.e. BT in the case of the UK). Directive 2002/58/EC (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) prohibits unsolicited communications for the purpose of direct marketing, when no prior consent of the subscriber has been obtained.
Moreover, general EU consumer protection legislation could also be relevant in this case. I have therefore forwarded your e-mail to the Commission services responsible for consumer protection — Directorate General for ‘Health and Consumers’ (DG SANCO).

Commission européenne, B-1049 Bruxelles/ Europese Commissie, 8-1049 Brussel - Belgium. Telephone: (32-2) 299 1111. Office: BERL 12/294. Telephone: direct line (32-2) 2962341. Fax: (32-2) 2960746.

Page 2

According to Community law, it is primarily for the enforcement authorities of Member States to investigate and prevent breaches of national law transposing the relevant EU law. I understand from your e-mail that you have already presented your complaint to the competent UK authorities and that you are not satisfied with their response. In this regard, I wish to inform you that you have the right to submit a formal complaint to the European Commission against a Member State both regarding legal measures, or practice attributable to a Member State, which you consider incompatible with Community law. Should you wish to file such a formal complaint in this case, please inform us accordingly. We would appreciate if you used for this purpose the complaint form available on the following Commission website, including in it as many relevant details as possible:
http :Hec. europa. eu/community_law/your_rights/your_rights_forms_en. htm.
Please note that, for your complaint to be registered, it must concern a specific breach of EU law by a Member State.

I trust you will find this information helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Rudolf Strohmeier

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