Watchdog – Press 9

For some reason I enjoy watching Consumer Affairs programmes, and visiting website like ASA, OfCom and ICSTIS.

Now on Monday night Watchdog were talking briefly about the phone calls which ask you to Press 9 to win a prize, and telling people not to press 9. Yet only on the 30th November, I received an email from ICSTIS saying

£20 per minute and £50 per minute ‘premium rate scam’ warnings

Dear Ryan,

Over the last few days, ICSTIS has received dozens of enquiries about the above ‘scams’, which are being widely publicised by e-mail. To help us put an end to the current spate of enquiries, please pass this information on to all contacts.

In the first case, the apparent ‘deception’ takes place when people receive a recorded message informing them that they have won an all-expenses paid holiday and are asked to press 9 to hear further

details. It is then claimed that callers are connected to a £20.00 per minute premium rate line that will still charge them for a minimum of five minutes even if they disconnect immediately. It is also claimed that, if callers stay connected, the entire message costs £260.00.

In the second case, the apparent ‘deception’ takes place when people receive a missed call from a number beginning 0709. It is then claimed that, if callers dial this number, they are connected to a £50.00 per minute premium rate line.

Please note that these stories are NOT true.

£20.00 per minute and £50.00 per minute premium rate tariffs do not exist – the highest premium rate tariff available is £1.50 per minute. Despite the dozens of enquiries received by ICSTIS about these ‘scams’ (and most people appear to have heard about them second or third-hand), not one person who claims that it has actually happened to them has been able to produce a phone bill to support their story.

ICSTIS urges any individual or organisation that receives an e-mail about these ‘scams’ to delete it immediately. Please do NOT forward it to others.

Now I’m not going to say that people haven’t been receiving calls which tell them to press 9, but by pressing it, you won’t end up connected to a premium rate number, most likely you will be told to phone an 090 number to receive your prize.

It’s just a shame that a programme like Watchdog, doesn’t even bother to contact the relevant regulator to check their facts.

2 thoughts on “Watchdog – Press 9

  1. I had a phone call last night (16/03/05) telling me I had won an all expenses paid holiday (American accent) and instructing me to press 9. Needless to say I didn’t press 9, but hung up. As I say I hung up, so I cannot say what would have happen if I had pressed 9. I cam across your website when I google for prize “press 9”.



  2. Terry, pressing 9 wouldn’t have done anything to you, as it is currently impossible to make the caller be charged for the call.
    My guess, although I’ve yet to have any of these calls, is that you would have been ask to ring an 090 number.

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