The UK telecoms watchdog, Oftel, is to get tough with rip-off premium rate SMS messages. It has introduced new powers to disconnect companies that send such messages without explaining the charging structure.
If offenders ignore a request to stop from the premium rate service watchdog ICSTIS, Oftel will order mobile phone networks to disconnect them.
Premium rate scams are relatively simple, but mobile users are still being caught out. A mobile user may receive an unsolicited text requiring a reply to a 090 number. It may claim the user has won a competition, or it may mention ‘adult’ material. Responding to the message will cost the user GBP1.50.
Oftel claims the new powers are necessary to protect customers and to stamp out premium rate abusers. It will also serve to protect the reputations of legitimate premium service providers.