Remember the days when you treated your mobile minutes like they were precious pieces of gold? You’d have to be crazy to miss this anxiety ridden period of time. Thanks to the growing use of text messages, the number of phone calls have decreased. Gone are the days where we’d have to allocate our minutes during the day and wait till after 9pm to use our unlimited minutes, or so we thought.
Creeping up on thousands of mobile users in the UK, a scam has been hitting victims as a quick phone call from a number starting with 0845 or 0843. Victims won’t always know that they’ve been targeted; they won’t realize they’ve been duped until they find a charge on their phone bill for hundreds of pounds for a call they don’t remember lasting over 12 hours.
I Didn’t Take That Call!
The 0845/0843 scam has been spreading like wildfire due to its incognito manner. All it takes is for a caller to receive the call, they don’t even have to answer the call. In a fraction of a second, the call will be recorded as a missed call. A call we’d all disregard as a wrong number or telemarketer would be a scam call and victims would be none the wiser.
A majority of scam victims have been connected to UK big wig Vodafone, but customers from other mobile providers have been hit as well.
“We are very concerned to hear of a number of people receiving mobile charges they didn’t expect,” commented a spokesman from UK communications regulator Ofcom. “Ofcom is working with the mobile operators, industry experts and partner regulators to establish the causes and address the problem.
“We are pleased that Vodafone is blocking suspicious numbers and refunding affected customers. We advise those who believe they are affected to contact their phone company promptly.”
You’ve been hit, what do you do now?
First things first, generally, it’s not a good idea to pick up or call back an unrecognized number. However, in the case of the 0845/0843 scam, once you’ve been called, there’s no turning back, right?
Not necessarily. It hasn’t been confirmed how the scheme works but investigators believe scammers are buying 0845/0843 premium numbers, setting fees high, and hacking into a victim’s phone by programming their phones to automatically call back if the number is recorded as a missed call.
Vodafone is now aware of the scam and is blocking any known numbers involved with the scam. However, it’s best to take preventative measures if you see that you’ve missed a call from a number starting with 0845 or 0843. It’s best you contact your phone provider as soon as possible to avoid being charged hundreds of pounds before realizing you’ve been hit.