The Mobile Phone Scam That Costs You £300 For Calls You Didn't Make

27 April 2016
Mobile Phone Scam That Could Cost You £300

Most of us are much more aware of the way scams target people these days and are very cautious of anything suspicious, but this new mobile scam is baffling the networks.

Customers are receiving a call from an 0845 or 0843 number, not answering, then getting a bill saying they have made calls for up to 12 hours! The customer never answers — the call typically lasts just a fraction of a second — and it's recorded on their mobile handset as a missed call.

Customers who have been targeted by this scam have then been sent a text by their mobile provider blocking their phone due to high usage, or been hit by a huge bill, with the phone companies records showing that the customer called the 0845 or 0843 number back for between 3 and 12 hours. And no one knows how this scam works!

So far Vodafone customers seem to have been hit the hardest, but it is a problem being reported across all networks and Ofcom are now investigating.

What happens? You receive a missed call from an 0845 or 0843 number with no voicemail message left. Weeks later the victim will gets a huge bill of up to £300 showing they have called the 0845 or 0843 number back.

How does it work? One theory is that hackers are getting hold of 0845 accounts, setting up high fees for incoming calls, then hacking into mobiles and changing their settings to automatically call back if there is a missed call from the scammer's 08 number, but that is just a theory at present.

What can you do? If you receive a call from a suspicious 0845 or 0843 number, make a note of it and make sure you check your next mobile phone bill. The good news is that the phone companies recognise that this is a scam and genuine victims of this scam are being refunded.

Ofcom has said: "We are very concerned to hear of a number of people receiving mobile charges they didn't expect. 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."

So make sure you take note of the number if you receive one of these missed calls, check your bills and contact the phone company straight away if you have been affected.

TOPICS:   News and Recalls

32 comments

  • Shelley D.

    I don't return numbers I don't know and don't answer numbers I don't know unless I'm expecting a call, simples

    • PlayPennies

      Same here Shelley, but this scam works without you answering the call, that's the scary bit. :( They've been really clever with this one.

  • Lisa K.

    I Google numbers first

  • Susanne A.

    I google them too

  • Louise B.

    It says u dont have to answer the ringing lasts a second, ive had 3 calls like this, so far no charges

  • Toni H.

    I'm constantly getting missed calls from 0845 numbers and stuff :scream::fearful::disappointed:

  • Kerry D.

    How can you google them before they ring you? You don't have to phone back or answer on this scam to be caught out!

  • Lindsay C.

    I've had a few 0843 numbers ringing me for a split second :neutral_face:

  • Karen R.

    please be careful of your bills x

  • Gillian C.

    People are obviously not reading this article properly. Googling the number won't make any difference. People are being charged when they haven't called the number back!

    • Danielle A.

      Love how you get all the smart-arse comments that aren't actually applicable! Read the article first!!

  • Linsey B.

    There are a few websites out there that check numbers and people can comment if it's a nuisance call, I use "who called me"

  • Suzanne M.

    I have a app on my phone called should I answer it automatically cuts off nuisance numbers etc as soon as my phone starts to ring hopefully it works for this too!

  • guest

    I'm sure phone company's know anyone in the right mind wouldn't pay £300 for a phone call, so any phone company not willing to take it off are just being k**b heads really. Especially if they can see it's completely out of character.

  • Jeanette N.

    It doesn't matter if you google them. The call has already been made. You can get charged even if you don't pick up.

  • Claire F.

    Google them worth resting your mind. One of my 0845 was virgin wines :upside_down:

    • Megan D.

      I'd call them back immediately :wine_glass:

  • Sophie T.

    There's also a similar scam involving text messages from a company claiming to be an online learning course. They bombarded me with texts, advertising different things then charged me £150 claiming I had signed up to a subscription, it's happened to 100s of people only on EE

    • SBolton

      This happened to us as well! Still waiting on £100 refund :/

  • Kim '.

    Oh this may need a little more research

  • Lindsey

    Is bit scary when don't have to even answer but can you not just block these numbers so can't call again? X

  • Tanya B.

    This happened to me. I woke up in the middle of the night to my phone being in a call with a 0845 number which I'm pretty sure I didn't dial before I went to sleep. It doesn't matter if you google and check the number, whatever this is...calls them back automatically. Luckily my charge of £125 is now being taken off my bill for the next few months. Quite scary though.

  • Rebecca B.

    I have a capped contract :-)

  • Margarida F.

    Are people actually paying for it? Can EE really charge people even though it's a scam?

    • Ola G.

      I'm thinking same. Surely they won't charge you!

  • Karen M.

    Crikey sounds very like what happened to me!!

  • Charlie W.

    Omg !!

  • Kimi C.

    how bad is this!!!

  • Sophie J.

    I google them, then block right away, so far I haven't been charged for any of them

  • Martin S.

    Simple everyone cap ur contracts simple scam dead

  • Linzi S.

    ... I get these numbers all the time and never answer :grin: can't win!!

  • Lynnsey W.

    If the phone companies are aware of this scam then surely they will take it on board and reimburse the customer

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