‘THINK TWICE BEFORE DIALLING 070’ WARNING / WOULD WE LIKE A NEW TOWN CENTRE MANAGER?
‘THINK TWICE BEFORE DIALLING 070’ WARNING
Phone bills totalling hundreds of pounds have been run up by customers duped into dialling premium rate numbers believing them to be regular mobile phone numbers, say Croydon council.
The council’s trading standards team are now warning people to “be wary” if asked to call numbers beginning with 070.
Having featured in more than 2,600 fraud reports over the past year, the so-called ‘personal numbers’ are actually virtual numbers which forward incoming calls to one of a list of fixed or VoIP (voice-over-internet protocol) telephone numbers pre-selected by the client.
“VoIP numbers allow phone calls over the internet, enabling calls to be made or received anywhere with an internet connection, which makes tracing the calls much more difficult” explained a council spokesman.
“This enables potential fraudsters to provide a 070 number to victims while masking the number(s) that it diverts to, adding some protection to the fraudsters’ true identity and location.”
Although legitimate numbers, calls to 070 numbers are charged at a premium rate and have long been used by fraudsters to scam unwitting victims, the spokesman added.
“Calls from a landline can cost up to 65p per minute and may incur an additional call set-up fee of up to 51p. “Calls from mobiles can cost up to £1.50 per minute.
“One scam sees the fraudster sending a text message or leaving a voicemail/missed call on the victim’s phone. “The victim calls back assuming this is a UK mobile number and is unwittingly connecting to a premium rate number, and kept waiting as the fee mounts.
“Alternatively, the fraudster contacts an individual who is selling an item on a shopping website and sends fake PayPal emails to the victim requesting a shipping fee to be paid via Western Union, prior to the payment being released to the victim.
“They will often provide an 070 number, causing the victim to incur further charges if they attempt to make contact with the suspect.
“In extreme cases, victims have received triple figure phone bills as a result of calling these premium rate numbers, which will often be programmed to forward calls to VoIP numbers in order to reach offenders based overseas.”
Anybody approached online or otherwise and provided with a 070 number for contact should be aware that this could be a scam and should not call the number.
Anybody so approached should consider informing PhonepayPlus, which regulates premium numbers and has statutory powers to stop mobile phone frauds and fine the offenders. Call 0800 500 212 or visit www.phonepayplus.org.uk/ The website also has the facility to check a phone number against a database.
Anybody affected by this, or any other scam, should contact Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visitingwww.actionfraud.police.uk
Cllr Mark Watson, Croydon’s cabinet member for safety and justice, said: “This is a timely warning for people to be aware of a scam that has the sole purpose of parting them from their money.
“As we enter the pre-Christmas period, many will be looking to the internet to find bargain prices on gifts for loved ones.
“The pressure to provide might leave them with their defences down and susceptible to a scam that’s far from obvious as, on the face of it, an 070 number might be read as that of a mobile phone.
“Think before you dial, and, if it looks as though this might be a scam, dial instead the Action Fraud number.”
0300 123 2040, or visitingwww.actionfraud.police.uk (Source: Croydon council press release.)
WOULD WE LIKE A NEW TOWN CENTRE MANAGER?
Would we like a Town Centre Manager back or improvements to the Triangle? Still time to get an application in to the Mayor’s High Street fund – closing date 1 December!
The question is posed in a Virtual Norwood blog on behalf of the Crystal Palace Triangle Planning Group.
Details of the Mayor’s High Street fund as follows:
High Street Fund
The Mayor’s High Street Fund will help London’s high streets to become even better places to visit, to live in and to do business in, a vision set out in the Mayor’s Action for High Streets.
The High Street Fund is the latest in a series of funding rounds, which started in 2011 with round one of the Outer London Fund, aimed specifically at helping London’s high streets to grow and become more vibrant. The fund is making up to £9m available until March 2016 to support projects that help deliver his ambition.
Funding will be directed to places that have potential for growth and where there is the commitment and capacity for real long-term change.
Successful projects will create vibrant, attractive places that underpin good growth and they will address the interrelated challenges of accommodating new homes on London’s high streets, while nurturing businesses and enhancing civic life.
For grants of up to £20,000, any organisation can apply online via our new SpaceHive website.
(Google: Mayor of London High Street fund)
If you require any further information or guidance please refer to the FAQs page, the High Street Fund newsletter, or get in touch with the team via [email protected]
High Street Fund Prospectus
The High Street Fund Prospectus sets out the framework for that continued investment and support and provides guidance on how to access funding.
Submissions should be made via the application form provided. There is one application form for requests of up to £20,000 and another for larger sums requiring a bit more information. In addition, a template programme table is attached and requires the projects to set out milestones and associated costs.
Each submission should consist of the relevant application form and a completed programme table.
Application forms and supplementary information should be sent to [email protected] by midday on 1 December 2014.
Mayor’s SpaceHive Website
Working with SpaceHive, we have also created a new website where a range of organisations including town teams, BIDs, community organisations and boroughs can submit project ideas and can bid for smaller grants of up to £20,000.
Projects can be posted and developed online. All you need to start the process is a good idea, a project description and an image. Once this has been posted the existing online community can even help you develop your idea into a project bid.
This website can also be used as a platform to crowdfund your project, regardless of whether or not you receive Mayoral funding. This means your project can be up to any value, with the Mayor contributing a maximum of £20,000.
Special Assistance Team
As part of the support available through the Mayor’s High Street Fund the Greater London Authority (GLA) has assembled a Specialist Assistance Team (SAT) with 47 consultants and 6 boroughs across 16 areas of expertise, to help the realisation of projects delivering on these priorities through these programmes.
Each borough has a basic allocation of up to eight sessions of SAT support (one session equals four hours from consultants or one hour from borough officers), while supplies last. Lead borough officers and their GLA Regeneration Team contacts will agree how and when the support is used, so long as it is before the end of March 2016.
If you are interested in making use of the SAT first check out the SAT Menu, then please get in touch with [email protected] or your project lead. (Source: Mayor of London’s office press release.)