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Author: Internal Customer Services Agent
Mobile phone scams to be aware of
Given how much our mobile phone is now an integral part of our everyday lives, it is of little wonder that the majority of us are aware of its where-a-bouts 24 hours a day. As such we are prepared to spend considerable sums of money month in and month out to ensure we have the best possible access to all the services the modern day Smart Phone can provide. Given the value of Smart Phone handsets are ever increasing, many of us have been accustomed to gaining access to such devices by the means of a monthly repayment contract. Many millions of us have these monthly contracts in place with the handful of suppliers available, such as o2, Vodafone and 3. More often than not the costs of having our Smart phone are broken down into two factors; although with some suppliers, with exception of o2, this may not be entirely obvious. The costs in question are the cost of the handset each month and of course the service cost. This means that most Smart Phone contracts contain an element which is specific to paying for the device and another specific to service and use. One of the providers, o2, are specific in their delivery of these two separate costs thanks to their ‘Refresh’ contract. Refresh allows customers to pay for the cost of the handset as a completely separate payment to that of their monthly usage costs. This therefore means the cost of the device itself will be repaid after the agreed period of time and the service cost remains running until such time that the contract is terminated. As well as the known monthly costs associated to mobile phone contracts there are other ways we may increase the amount owed each month, often without even our prior knowledge and this is through being targeted by scams.
Mobile phone scams have been around for years, like many other scams which we are periodically targeted by. Typically scams take place in email form with fraudsters looking to target us and our bank account details via a fraudulent emails claiming such details are required. Nowadays sadly fraudsters are advancing their efforts and targeting our mobiles too. Aside from the obvious scam; whereby fraudsters will call our phones looking to obtain our banking information to use for fraud purposes, there have been reports recently that a new scam is taking place. The most recent scam being reported sees consumers running up large phone bills for calls they simply did not make. At this time the issue seems to reside with customers who have a monthly contract through Vodafone specifically but that’s not to say the scam will not affect those with contracts with some of the other large suppliers. The scam itself appears to consist of receiving a missed call from a number beginning with 0845 or 0345 and in most instances the phone will only ring for a few seconds before the call is registered as ‘missed’. Customers are then greeted with a nasty surprise when either there phone is blocked due to high usage or a bill for a call to this number running into hundreds of pounds. Consumers have reported that although they did not even call the number back, there is a call listed for 9 to 12 hours with extremely high tariff rates and therefore cost.
For those of you effected by this there is every reason to raise concern with the supplier, whether this be Vodafone or otherwise. Given that of the cases known the majority of these supposed calls have taken place throughout the night, there is every reason to dispute the cost being charged. Given also that it has been reported in This Is Money today that those who did return the call, noted that it went to a claims management voicemail; suggests immediately that there is just-cause to believe fraud has taken place. As a first port of call dispute the charge specifically with your supplier and raise the issue that the call never took place. You can evidence this with screen captures of your call logs where requested. If the customer advisor is unable to support you with your compliant you may have to request the issue is raised with a manager or via the official route. The entire circumstances surrounding the nature and timing of these calls should be evidence enough that a form of fraud has been committed but if this for whatever reason is not the case, ensure the correct and official channels are taken to resolve the issue.