Unfortunately, despite the Christmas cheer, I have been made aware of a number of phone scams involving the use of 070 numbers that have targeted businesses. Numbers starting 070 are Non-Geographic numbers and not mobile phone numbers as some people assume. These 070 numbers are often referred to as Personal Numbers and calls to them are charged at higher rates.

The scam in itself is simple. It involves scammers claiming to be interested in the goods or services supplied by the business and asking to be called back on an 070 number, hoping the business will mistake it for a mobile number.

The request for a call back will sometimes come via email, again claiming interest in the products and services supplied. Although not a comprehensive list, the main business types targeted include: Hotels, Car Dealerships and Garages, Vehicle Hire, Telecommunication Suppliers and Letting and Estate Agents.

When someone from the business innocently returns the call, the scammer will make strenuous efforts to ensure the call lasts as long as possible, with questions, asking for things to be repeated, leaving the call briefly to get a pen etc.

A variant of the scam will involve the person called back asking for colleagues to be ‘conferenced’ into the call. If the business agrees, when they end the call their telephone system effectively leaves the other called parties connected who will then leave their line open, resulting in long calls and high charges.

The regulator for 070 numbers is apparently attempting to close down the numbers involved in recent suspected scams, but this simple crime remains a real threat with new numbers able to be used to continue the scams.

Although 070 numbers have legitimate uses, I strongly recommend you circulate this message to everyone within your business, your customers and contacts to help prevent any more businesses becoming victim to the scammers.

You should note:

  • The cost to call different numbers. The 070 numbers are Personal Numbers and NOT mobile phone numbers.
  • If you setup a conference call and bring other callers into the call, check the numbers and ensure all parties have disconnected before you disconnect the call. Do not hang up first.
  • If you suspect you may have been a victim of a scam, please report this to Action Fraud here. (This link takes you to an external site that we are not responsible for).

If you wish to discuss this problem in any more detail, please call me on 01827 219873.

Terry Faria, Telecommunications Manager, Quiss Technology