Scams involving Premium Rate Telephone Numbers

Some scammers will ask you to call a premium rate phone number to win some fabulous prize or to share in the fortune of a recently deceased multi-millionaire. You should never respond to unsolicited emails but you might wish to see if a particular scam has already been unearthed.


PhonepayPlus (previously known as ICSTIS) regulates premium rate (or phone-paid) services in the UK. These are the premium rate goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bill and pre-pay account.

Premium rate numbers generally begin with 09, 118, 0871, 0872 and 0873. Mobile text shortcode numbers - the five- and six-digit numbers that you can use to enter text competitions, give to charity via your mobile, download mobile games, etc. - are also considered premium rate.

For information on a premium rate number, access the PhonepayPlus number checking service

Consumers who are hard of hearing can contact PhonepayPlus via textlink on 020 7407 3431.

Email Hoaxes

You should always be on the alert when you receive unsolicited emails. Do not respond to any incoming emails you have not initiated yourself by, perhaps, signing up for updates from various legitimate services.

If you suspect an email is not from a genuine source use your favourite search engine to look up keywords or phrases contained within the suspicious email.

Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity (such as a bank) in an email.  For information on phishing or identity fraud, please visit this page.

Share fraud and boiler room scams

Share scams are often run from ‘boiler rooms’ where fraudsters cold-call investors offering them worthless, overpriced or even non-existent shares. While they promise high returns, those who invest usually end up losing their money. Find out how the scams work and what to do to avoid becoming a victim.

Read more about share fraud and boiler room scams on the FSA (Financial Services Authority) website.