New 900 Scam and an Alternative to 900 Numbers

New 900 Scam and an Alternative to 900 Numbers

Post by Marty the Dro » Thu, 12 Mar 1992 02:18:42



What Bob proposes is all well and good for people who know about
numbers and can understand modern technology. You must remember that
all these systems must be geared for the most common denominator.
There are still many people who have no idea why they should care
about who their LXC is and think that all phone service comes from
"The Phone Company".

A 900 number is the simplest way to make a pay-per-use call for the
simple minded folks out there. This is a marketing decision.


Industrial Magician    (415) 258-2105   KC6YYP

 
 
 

New 900 Scam and an Alternative to 900 Numbers

Post by Paul Schmi » Thu, 12 Mar 1992 22:41:48



Quote:(Marty the Droid) writes:
> A 900 number is the simplest way to make a pay-per-use call for the
> simple minded folks out there. This is a marketing decision.

This may not be the best thing today on a network with alot of UUCP
users.  As a caller of UUNET'S 900 number to download some files, I
could take this as an insult.

 
 
 

New 900 Scam and an Alternative to 900 Numbers

Post by Bob_Franks.. » Thu, 12 Mar 1992 23:21:00


I'm mainly arguing for uniformity. If people want to use 900 service,
it could be provided as an option when they get their telco service.
They can then be asked for a credit card number.  If they don't have
one and telco wants to act as their banker, they can issue them a
separate credit card number of some sort. RBOCs as charge card
issuers?  But with 900 numbers they already are, at least make it act
more like the charge card it is than just another phone call.
 
 
 

1. New 900 Scam and an Alternative to 900 Numbers

I saw this in the {NY Times} this past week.  A company (Infotrax) has
been sending out phone delivery notices and telling people to call the
900 number to claim their package.  The NY Attorney General has
threatened to sue them and they agreed to refund 10,000(!) payments.
To forestall self-righteous telecom readers who will say that if you
call a 900 number you should know what you are getting into, these are
the kind of scams that prey on the naive.  Not everyone has gotten to
the point of recognizing phoney offers like condo letters designed to
look like they come from the IRS.

I've also decided that the 900 numbers are an example of the RBOCs
getting into a value added service without any thought.  There is NO
NEED FOR 900 numbers.  If people did want convenience in paying they
can use their existing credit cards and key them in.  If that is too
much trouble, the phone company can offer a payment macro that would
store your credit card number for you and only require you to key in a
PIN.  For the truely lazy and naive, there would also be the option of
flagging the line to present the payment information without requiring
the PIN.

One nice thing about this approach is that would allow a uniform
system of payment from any phone so that you can use a credit card
number even from a pay phone or internationally.  Currently the 900
number sometimes works and sometimes doesn't depending on what phone
line you happen to be using.  Clearly a design error.

Of course, for this to work properly, there would have to be a uniform
way of entering the billing information and updating it as well as a
way to prevent the calling party from listening in on the PIN entry.
For ISDN, it would be nice to incorporate the presentation of bill-to
information in a standard message.

In short, the goal of providing a simple and uniform way of paying for
services over the phone line is a reasonable one.  But the 900 number
is a very stupid way of doing it. The only virtue is that it was
kludged into the phone system when no one was watching.  The ability
to charge to a standard credit card would provide wider availability
of charging services with more control ont he part of the subscriber.

People without credit cards are not a problem since the fact that they
can charge to a 900 number means that someone is willing to vouch for
their ability to pay -- the telcos can guarantee an appropriate card.

I can elaborate on this proposal in much more detail if there is interest.

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7. Hurricane Bob Updates on 900 Number (was Who Needs 900, 976)

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9. First 900-Number "Anti-Spam" Scams Starting to Emerge

10. Feds Target 900 Numbers as Latest Scam

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