[Gllug] Phone scam?

Philip Hands phil at hands.com
Tue Apr 19 12:18:11 UTC 2011

On Tue, 19 Apr 2011 02:00:23 +0100, Alistair Mann <gllug at lgeezer.net> wrote:
> John Winters wrote:
> >  On 18/04/11 10:37, Alistair Mann wrote:
> > > I don't remember where I saw this (might have been the economist?)
> > > but with telephone fraud it can take upto three months to get the
> > > law to disconnect them. From a business point of view, it can make
> > > sense to start up a shell company that looks kosher, and wring it
> > > for everything.
> >
> >  I once had occasion to complain to ICSTIS about a premimum rate phone
> >  line scam and they performed far better than any other supposed
> >  regulatory authority which I've come across.
> >
> >  The line was promptly disconnected, all revenue was confiscated, the
> >  operators were fined a large sum, and I was sent full details of
> >  those behind the scam in case I wanted to pursue it further myself.
> To be fair, that was because they were on a premium line -- they're much 
> less use against a company with a 'regular' phone number.
> >  Would that other operators were as effective.
> Perhaps it's as well that they're usually not: a reasonably well-known 
> social attack is to induce complaints to a regulator about equally 
> legitimate competition to one's own business. I'm led to believe 
> brothels do this to each other regularly: leaving anonymous notes under 
> the doors of the competition's neighbours asking them to complain to the 
> Police if that competing brothel "is a problem." For such 
> establishments, perhaps we can afford not to care, but it would suddenly 
> be a big problem if someone was able to shut any one of us down 
> 'promptly' on little more than a single complaint.

Having just got a call from a robot, claiming I could discard my debt,
with a CLI of 08435440000, I thought I'd have a look at what's to be
done about such calls -- that's not a premium rate number it's regulated
by Ofcom AFAICT

Ofcom's web site really doesn't encourage you to register a complaint,
but if you follow enough links you'll find that they want you to
download an MS-word doc, fill in a load of details about the caller you
almost certainly won't have, and post it in with supporting documentary

This strikes me as utterly useless.

As I just suggested to my MP, I would like Ofcom to insist that the
telecoms firms set up a system, whereby if one gets a call one didn't
want, after hanging up you dial 17726 (i.e. 1-SPAM).  The exchange,
which generally knows th CLI even for callers that were withheld[1]
could then log the last caller's number to a complaints service run by

Ofcom could then sort the complaints by frequency per number (or
preferably per subscriber) chose the one at the top, sample a few of the
complainers to see what upset them, and then go to the subscriber and do
things ranging from asking them not to do it again, to pulling the plug
and seizing any revenue-shares or premium-rate-fees.  If telecoms
companies AUP included clauses that allowed Ofcom to charge the
offenders fines for abuse, then Ofcom could fund the investigations and
infrastructure from collected fines.[2]

Cheers, Phil.

[1] well, international calls seem quite often to really drop their CLI
en-route, but if one set up the rules right, one could look at
collecting fines from telecoms firms that are willing to route too many
evil calls onto the network.  Either that, or create a free service that
allows people to say "I don't want calls from telecoms firms that are
willing to route CLI-free calls, and who are being significantly
reported via 17726 in the last 24 hours".

[2] might be better to arrange it so that Ofcom fine the telecoms firms,
who then get to fine the subscriber if they can still find them -- that
way obviously dodgy people would end up having to pay a deposit to cover
the fines they're likely provoke if they're making a lot of calls.
|)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
|-|  HANDS.COM Ltd.                    http://www.uk.debian.org/
|(|  10 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, London  E18 1NE  ENGLAND
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