30-Apr-2013 11:52

Ever lost or had a mobile phone stolen? Stressful isn’t it.

But equally stressful are the pretty large bills that can surprise you following a theft or loss & sadly there remains poor protection against fraudulent & often expensive calls made on your phone…

In a recent case a chap hadn’t (realised & thus had not) reported his phone stolen within the first 24-hours & in the mean time almost 17 hours worth of calls were made to Nigeria, racking up a nasty shock amounting to nearly £1500.
In this case and following much complaining Orange [now a part of EE] agreed to waive half of the bill ‘as a gesture of goodwill’.

The questions remains though; why didn’t and why don’t mobile networks pick up on the heavy usages & really quite unusual call patterns…

In response, communications watchdog Ofcom continually mentions that it is, “extremely concerned…”, & is seeking ways to protect customers from unexpectedly high bills. Furthermore, Ofcom is trying to encourage the phone providers to be more proactive in preventing fraudulent use.

Bottom line folks – as many smartphones now hold much personal data and information, including access to personal and business emails, it is of vital importance & and incumbent on us all to be increasingly vigilant.

Crooks use mobile phones and SIMs to carry out different frauds. Some of the most common, include:

The ‘missed call’ scam:
Many people automatically call back a number they don’t recognise if they have received ‘a missed call’. Big mistake! The missed-call number could be a premium rate service costing up to £15 per call.

Recorded message scam:
Alternatively a missed-call number could lead to a recorded message informing you that you’ve won a prize, with another number to ‘claim that prize’. This second number could be also a premium rate service call!

Text message scam:
In similar vein, you receive a friendly text message from an unrecognised number. Text back to that premium code & you may be hit with a nasty shock too…

Ring tone scam:
Receive an offer a ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ ring tone. However, if you accept, you may be subscribing to a service that will keep sending you ring tones – and charge a premium rate for the privilege.

The regulatory body PhonepayPlus carefully monitors premium numbers and has the authority to hinder fraud and heavily fine offenders.

However, you guys, all users, can take steps to avoid falling victim of scams and SimplyFone advising clients not to respond to unknown numbers and not to store private & personal PINS in texts or emails.

And if you sell your phone or pass it to another user, make sure you complete a ‘factory reset’ to clear all personal information.

Best of luck & remember: Be vigilant and sensible…

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