Company fined £120,000 by regulator for scamming jobseekers and home hunters
28 November 2013
The scam misused an 070 premium rate phone number
£130 bill reported by one complainant
Another complainant said that her profoundly deaf daughter had been charged £95 after calling the number using text type
In no cases were callers told the cost of the calls or offered either a home or work
PhonepayPlus, the UK phone-paid services regulator, today fined a company, R S Premium, £120,000 and ordered it to refund everyone who had used its phone services after it was found to have scammed jobseekers and home hunters.
PhonepayPlus received complaints from people who were sent emails suggesting that they had been shortlisted for jobs or who had seen online adverts for housing and jobs. Both the adverts and emails asked people to call an 070 number that, appeared similar to a mobile number, but charged up to 50p per minute. In some cases, the adverts gave a real mobile number and on calling it jobseekers were given an 070 number to dial instead.
One complainant reported being charged £130, while another told PhonepayPlus that her profoundly deaf daughter had been charged £95 after calling the number using text type.
In no cases were callers told the cost of the calls or offered either the chance of a job interview or a home viewing.
This is the second case tackled by PhonepayPlus involving 070 numbers in as many months. In October PhonepayPlus fined a sole trader, John Francis, £75,000 for a similar scam. Consumers should take care when dialling these numbers and if unsure check the number on either the PhonepayPlus or Ofcom websites. When operated correctly, the 070 range is regulated by Ofcom.
Paul Whiteing, Chief Executive of PhonepayPlus, said:
“No scams are acceptable but those that target people who are working to find a job or a home and are already hard pressed are particularly shocking and will not be tolerated.”
Mr Whiteing also added that PhonepayPlus was working with the Police regarding this case and with Ofcom as they prepare to review the 070 number range which is similar to ordinary mobile numbers beginning with 07.