Phone-paid services regulator warns consumers to be extra watchful of scams during the festive season.
Christmas should be a time of celebration, but there are opportunists who will seek to use it for personal gain by conning consumers when they might be especially vulnerable to particular types of scam.
Almost one in two of us have used a phone-paid service in the last year. It is a fun, convenient way of personalising your phone, participating in a TV show or competition, receiving news alerts and much more. Almost everyone can expect to do so without any problems at all. However, consumers must still be careful.
PhonepayPlus, the market regulator, has already taken action against postal scams circulated via text message or post, which suggest recipients have missed a delivery and encourage them to call an international or premium rate number in order to rearrange it. Unfortunately, these seem to take place most often at Christmas time when families are expecting gifts.
Members of the public who receive such messages, or who are concerned by similar communications or promotional messages, should contact PhonepayPlus (0800 500 212, Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm, or www.phonepayplus.org.uk) to check the number’s legitimacy before returning the call.
PhonepayPlus will act quickly under its Code of Practice to punish service providers found to be facilitating scams using premium rate numbers, and will block the number concerned with immediate effect. While the Code of Practice does not extend to services accessed through international numbers, PhonepayPlus works with network operators to bar access to numbers that have been identified as operating scams.