Beware of any voicemails you receive from unknown callers, they might be scams!
It's happening here and in the UK. A TalkTalk customer, for example in London, learned a lesson the hard way. She's getting dinged for £678.60 for calling back a premium number left in her voicemail.
Worse yet, it has been ruled that the phone company is not liable for any damages and she'll have to pay for the charges.
The scam works like this.
A scammer calls your phone and leaves you a voicemail requesting you to call back a premium number for a myriad of reasons. If you bite and call, the scammer has a way to keep your line open, even after you think you've disconnected, and will keep charging you for some time.
Some are even reporting that they are getting charged without returning the premium call. Whoa, scary!
This customer even complained to a TalkTalk chief executive and to the communications ombudsman to no avail.
Ofcom, the Office of Communications of the U.K., admits these premium number scams are an industry wide problem in their area but the telecoms companies are under no obligation to refund the customer. All the phone companies could do then is issue warnings in the meantime.
TalkTalk states: “We are sorry that our customer was taken in by this scam and dialed back after receiving a voicemail from a premium rate number. This type of scam is increasingly common, and customers must think twice if they receive a call from an unfamiliar number starting with 0845 or 0843. The ombudsman has investigated and found TalkTalk acted fairly and the charges are valid.”
Although this happened in the U.K., premium call scams are also happening in the U.S. too, so be careful. Other variations of this scam are "one ring calls", where they ring your phone once, or the "ring and run" call, where they let you answer then disconnect, in both cases, the scammers are hoping you'd be curious enough to call back.
So moral of the story, do not return phone calls from unknown numbers, may it be from a voicemail request, a missed call or a disconnected call. There are lot of tricky scammers out there so always use caution.
As an extra precaution, you may want to start blocking certain numbers from calling or texting your phone. To do this, click here for our detailed guide.