800 Fraud - Misuse of 800 Numbers

800 Fraud - Misuse of 800 Numbers

Post by VLD/V » Sun, 10 May 1992 19:13:40



You mean there have been some cases where an 800 number was printed on
a phone bill along side the charge?  In other words, it would say
something like "SWEEPSTKS" (in this example, "sweepstakes") for place
called, and the 800 (instead of 900) number?

And did anyone learn what would show up on the phone bill if the $120
charge for that psychic service was accepted?  And what if you had
called from a pay phone and had asked (via the keypad) that the charge
be assessed to the phone you were calling from?  (I stopped short of
doing that, but stayed on long enough to hear the correct phone number
 -- all the way down to area code 410 -- read back to me.)

[Moderator's Note: In the {USA Today} case, the number on the bill was
given as 900-555-5555 even though 800-555-5555 was dialed. I don't
know how the fortune tellers handled it.   PAT]

 
 
 

800 Fraud - Misuse of 800 Numbers

Post by Ron Dippo » Mon, 11 May 1992 04:39:47



Quote:> According to CA Director Ken McEldowney, "The problem we are
> fighting is the use of 800 numbers to bill for 900-type information
> services.  There have never been charges for making calls to 800
> "This is the type of service for which "900" numbers were
> created.  But with increased regulation of 900 numbers, some

                     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Quote:> information providers are switching to 800 numbers, taking advantage

There's your problem right there.  900 numbers existed for a reason.
If you called them and got burned, you had yourself to blame, and the
company if they used false advertising.

With legislation to basically regulate 900 numbers out of existence
(by requiring that you mail in consent in advance, or other such
measures) it was inevitable that companies would move to other means
of continuing their operations, including ones that had previously
been left alone.

I continue to be astounded by the idiocy of those legislators who
think they can get rid of a problem by regulating it.

Superstition sees the Finger of God even in trivialities.

 
 
 

800 Fraud - Misuse of 800 Numbers

Post by Eli Mant » Tue, 12 May 1992 01:44:58



> According to CA Director Ken McEldowney, "The problem we are
> fighting is the use of 800 numbers to bill for 900-type information
> services.  There have never been charges for making calls to 800
> numbers.  However, in the past month we have heard of phone bills or
> look-alike phone bills for information received over the phone.

[text omitted]

Quote:> [one] service promised * conversation at $4.95 a
> minute.  Students at some midwestern universities and colleges called
> the service at an 800 number from campus phones.  Four months later,
> the schools received charges for the calls on their phone bills.  In
> some cases, the institutions did not know who made the calls: in
> others, callers had already left the institution.

So do these schools have any actual legal liability for the calls
placed?  My understanding was that, in general, a telephone subscriber
accepts responsibility for the charges incurred for calls placed
through his phone line ... but does this include other goods or
service purchased via my telephone?  Am I any more responsible for the
purchases someone makes using an 800 number (and says to bill it to
*my* phone) than Southern Bell is responsible if I go to a Southern
Bell pay phone, place an order, and tell them to bill it to *my*
credit card.  It might be argued that someone billing the charges to
my phone is guilty of fraud, just as I would be if I billed something
to a someone's credit card without authorization.  But that's a vastly
different issue.

Quote:> "We are especially concerned about any charges that appear on
> a phone bill," said McEldowney, "because in some states people can
> lose phone service if they don't pay such bills."  

Can someone identify the states or phone companies that are still
trying to do this?  The local phone companies only have a contract to
provide billing services ... I assume that, by tariff, the phone
companies must provide service to all comers who are not in arrears
*with the local phone company*.  If the local phone company STILL
doesn't understand this, then the state public service commission
needs to get involved.  If the state public service commission doesn't
understand this, then they need to be booted out.


   The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University of
     North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Campus Office for Information
        Technology, or the Experimental Bulletin Board Service.
           internet:  bbs.oit.unc.edu or 152.2.22.80

 
 
 

800 Fraud - Misuse of 800 Numbers

Post by Wes Perkhis » Sun, 17 May 1992 07:18:20


In a message of <09 May 92 10:13:40>, Carl Moore (11:30102/2) writes:

Quote:> And did anyone learn what would show up on the phone bill if the $120
> charge for that psychic service was accepted?  And what if you had
> called from a pay phone and had asked (via the keypad) that the charge
> be assessed to the phone you were calling from?  (I stopped short of
> doing that, but stayed on long enough to hear the correct phone number
> -- all the way down to area code 410 -- read back to me.)

In the case of the Mystic Marketing, if you called from a pay phone,
and tried to charge it to the phone, it would work (including reading
back the correct number) until you pushed the button to accept the
charges.  Then it said "Please hold while the number is verified ..."
After a few seconds, it came back and said that the charge could not
be billed to that number.  It then went into a loop of adverti*ts
for 1-900 numbers.  I don't know how long the loop was, or who ended
up paying for the time on the phone (the local phone company, the long
distance carrier, or someone else?) but, alas, you couldn't get a free
psycic reading. :(

Of course, the psycic knew you were calling from a pay phone: just
like he/she knew you were going to call.

Of course, this is all heresay:  I never would call a company like this. :)

Wes     msged 1.99S ZTC     Perk's 'Puter, Omaha  (1:285/666.20)

[Moderator's Note: I think you are wrong, at least in the early days
of this. The pay phone number was read back, verified and you were
given your PIN number to be used when setting up an appointment. I
think after the abuse became very heavy the psychic's business office
started following it a little closer. And of course the COCOTs were
wide open all along.  PAT]