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After a recent problem with his online shopping, he declined to call a customer service number but posted his number on Twitter, hoping the number would be picked up by marketing companies.Lee Beaumont is just one of many people who have learned to exploit the premium rate number system.Though his example is fairly innocuous, it illustrates how simple the basic idea of premium rate number fraud is, and how easy it is for anyone to game the system.Premium rate numbers have long been a staple of the telecom industry.
Fraudsters need only specify whether they want the line to be answered with psychic readings, betting tips, chat lines, or weather reports.Some businesses do legitimately stimulate traffic to their premium rate number through legal means, such as advertising.In fact, many reputable charities make use of premium rate numbers or premium rate SMS text messages to raise money.Because the general public looks at telecom fraud as similar to credit card fraud, as something for which they should not be liable, most service providers are unable to collect payment for the huge charges, and are instead stuck paying the bills themselves. Many sources for these numbers can be found through a simple Google search.According to the FCC, “Unfortunately, there are companies and individuals who engage in all of these kinds of deceptive and fraudulent practices, and the FCC receives a steady stream of complaints as a result.”It is shocking how easy it is for someone to get started with premium rate number fraud. Our research at Trans Nexus turned up 41 premium rate number services that offer quick setup for premium rate number services.