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Telebilling TBS Telecom Billing Service Scam
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# 1
jdawson
Old 23-10-2008, 11:47 PM
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Exclamation Telebilling TBS Telecom Billing Service Scam

I have been hit by a scam that has been previously mentioned:

here (MSE thread 1)
here (MSE thread 2)
here (mirror blog 1)
here (mirror blog 2)
here (Grumbletext forums. Note - in this thread, the most recent post goes to the top of the first page, as opposed to the system on MSE forums where the most recent post will go to the bottom of the last page)
here (OFCOM Investigation)
and summarised here.

The scam basically works like this (stolen from a post by bbb_uk)
  • You call a service operated by them (appears to be adult), using the number supplied in a text message sent to you. Usually adult services are premium rate numbers, but this scam is different because the number supplied in the text message is usually a geographical number e.g. 0207 or 0203.
  • Since it is a geographical number, you are charged normal rates on your phone bill.
  • But TBS will then call you back after the call (having obtained your number via CLI) and try and obtain your details directly from you, so that they can invoice you. If you don't provide your details (which you shouldn't) they use other means (illegal) to get your details.
  • They then invoice you for the call you made depending on 1) the length of your call and 2) a minimum charge they put on the call (this used to be 12 but now they're saying to me that it's minimum of 45!)


It would be reasonable to assume that they, "Telecom Billing Service Ltd" (TBS)/telebilling, would've stopped running the scam following their prosecution in 2006, after an investigation by OFCOM (see link above). But it seems they're still at it, as you can see by reading mirror blog 1 and 2, and by the fact that I received a call from them today requesting my address so that they could bill me.


I've been researching this all night, reading forums (Grumbletext has probably been the main source of discussion.)

But whilst the majority of advice from these online forums is basically 'under no circumstances should you pay up' and 'just ignore them', I'm worried about constantly receiving calls from them, and especially about receiving illicit post from them (they have been known to send pornographic material along with the 'invoices' they send through the post.

What should I do? Is there any way to stop post coming through, or blocking them from calling me in the future (would a number change do it?)?
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# 2
maninthestreet
Old 24-10-2008, 10:31 AM
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So did you call one of their phones lines? If you did, did you use a mobile phone or a landline phone?
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# 3
jdawson
Old 24-10-2008, 12:18 PM
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I called using a mobile phone.
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# 4
maninthestreet
Old 24-10-2008, 12:45 PM
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If you haven't given them your address, and presumably not your name either, how are they going to track you down???
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# 5
jdawson
Old 24-10-2008, 1:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maninthestreet View Post
If you haven't given them your address, and presumably not your name either, how are they going to track you down???
I don't know how they do it, but they seem to be able to: (taken from Grumbletext forums)
  • I received two bills from them in the last couple of days demanding payments. This is obviously harrassment. I have no intention to contact them. I wonder if it is possible to sue these !!!!!!!s and ban them from ever sending you anything. Furthermore, I want to know how they got hold of my details. Is there anything we can do to force them to disclose that under the current legislation?
  • can someone help me pls...i have just received a premium rate numer package from TBS (porn!)...I dont know how the hell they got my adress in the first place. What do I do now?
and many many more unfortunately....

It was investigated by Watchdog too:

Watchdog has been investigating a scam. It comes out of the blue and it's dirty. It's harassment and invasion of privacy. You don't know where it's coming from ... and you don't know the cost....

For Jason Clifford it all started with an unsolicited text message to his mobile asking him to call an 0207 landline number. Thinking it was to do with work he dialled it, only to discover that he was through to an adult chat line. Abu Elias also received an unexpected text message, but his was much cruder. To reassure his wife he called the number to find out who sent it. But by calling the number Abu and Jason had both unwittingly fallen into a trap.

The 0207 number is a trick. You're actually calling a company called Telecom Billing Services Ltd (TBS). It cons you into calling it and you end up footing the bill. Jason received a bill in the post for 12.95.

Abu then received a phone call which seemed perfectly innocent, asking him to confirm his name and address. Thinking it was his service provider he gave the caller his details. He then also received a bill from TBS.

TBS isn't a premium rate service. You pay for a landline call as normal through your service provider. TBS follows up with a separate bill. By doing this it evades premium rate regulations and can charge as much as it likes. TBS charges 2.40 per minute, for a minimum of five minutes. So, even if you hang up you receive a bill for 12.95. Along with the bills TBS also sends explicit leaflets.

And because it's not a premium rate number you can't put an automatic bar on it, as David Pope discovered. Despite barring 090 premium rate numbers, he was alarmed to find that his 16-year-old foster son had called TBS's adult chat line after his young girlfriend received one of its text messages.

Watchdog also heard from a 70-year-old woman who received bills from TBS for a mobile phone she doesn't own. Despite telling the company this, TBS continued to send letters demanding payment. The letters became more intimidating as the debt increased. The debt eventually got passed to a company called Persolvo Debt Collection Ltd who threatened to visit her home.

TBS and Persolvo Debt Collection Ltd are run by the same man - Sirous Nanevazadeh. They're based in Kensington, Central London.



They've also been alleged to threaten with court actions and put you on blacklists (surely they can't?!). I know i was so stupid to call the number in the first place, but in no way was I aware of the obscene charges they charge...
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# 6
jdawson
Old 24-10-2008, 3:44 PM
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I've just called phonepayplus, who don't seem to know very much about it but are going to investigate it for me. I'm getting quite worried now that they might have some legal right to do this.

The Mirror blogged about an investigation where Telebilling were fined 1000 just in May ('08), but obviously they haven't been deterred.

They've started to call me 2 to 3 times a day now, asking for my name and address. I don't know what to say to them. I'm afraid the more I engage with them, the more they'll find out information about me somehow.

I've also registered onto Grumbletext forums but haven't been granted access by the admin yet, so can't add to that thread and ask for help, but I'm getting really, really worried. How do I stop them calling me and making sure they don't get my address?
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# 7
julie1075
Old 24-10-2008, 3:57 PM
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Well might be hassle but if it was me I'd change my number. Get a free sim, text all my pals and forget about it!
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# 8
wantmemoney
Old 24-10-2008, 9:49 PM
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hi jdawson,
do not talk to them, you must not give them any details, they are crooks

if there was no price details on the original text then there is no commercial agreement

Last edited by wantmemoney; 24-10-2008 at 10:25 PM.
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# 9
wacko911
Old 31-10-2008, 5:53 AM
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I'd give them some other muppets address (ever better if its someone you dont like ) and then they should stop calling
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# 10
maninthestreet
Old 31-10-2008, 8:58 AM
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Please post the telephone number(s) you called here - this will enable people who may get a text asking them to call this number to find this thread if they search on the internet for it. We can also deluge these people with phone calls from telphone call boxes. That should waste their time as the try to phone a call box to get the address details.
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# 11
londonmelko
Old 09-03-2009, 12:28 PM
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I have been receiving several messages about calling adult chat line. The messages I been getting say the following:
From +447944073972
Im home alone in a skimpy top bored and need some action call my landline 02032858239
ready anytime PAM
over 18only FM08704296103

I have called the mobile and it just rings, I called the landline and got through to some adult chat line from telecom billing services. I hanged up immediatly. i called both numbers from my land line at work so they cant get my home number or mobile. I called the 0870 but no joy as no one was answering and went to voicemail. I didnt leave my details. The other option was to get their address details but when you select this, it just says thank you and hangs up.
Does anyone have any ideas as to how to stop these nusiance texts coming through? I am sick of them. I called my mobile provider and they cant block them as its not an info service but offered to change my number, which I dont want to as I changed it already. I am thinking of going to the police to get it investigated.
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# 12
mangadarkogirl
Old 24-08-2009, 3:25 PM
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Hi, I recieved x2 sms from two vodafone mobile numbers: 07500585741, 07500585763.
I called both numbers which just ring out. NOT the 02081142920 number.

From reading other users messages, I'm getting really worried. I don't know how they got my number, I am really careful with my details and I'm on the TPS list, so I shouldn't be getting any unsolicited calls/messages. Has anyone had this company ask for money without calling the number in the sms?
Debts to date: A&L Loan: Paid Off!, MMU:Paid Off!,
Student Loan 10,000(+4,000 in interest)14,000,
NHS Bursaries: Paid Off!


Last edited by mangadarkogirl; 24-08-2009 at 3:27 PM. Reason: adding numbers
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# 13
missile
Old 24-08-2009, 4:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by londonmelko View Post
I have been receiving several messages about calling adult chat line. The messages I been getting say the following:
From +447944073972
Im home alone in a skimpy top bored and need some action call my landline 02032858239
ready anytime PAM
over 18only FM08704296103

I have called the mobile and it just rings, I called the landline and got through to some adult chat line from telecom billing services. I hanged up immediatly. i called both numbers from my land line at work so they cant get my home number or mobile. I called the 0870 but no joy as no one was answering and went to voicemail. I didnt leave my details. The other option was to get their address details but when you select this, it just says thank you and hangs up.
Does anyone have any ideas as to how to stop these nusiance texts coming through? I am sick of them. I called my mobile provider and they cant block them as its not an info service but offered to change my number, which I dont want to as I changed it already. I am thinking of going to the police to get it investigated.
I would suggest you ought to be careful when phoning these or any other numbers from your work phone. Many companies monitor calls and internet activity, people have been fired for doing similar.
"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi
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# 14
Jo_F
Old 24-08-2009, 4:45 PM
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As I have just said in the other thread, they don't harvest the numbers from anywhere, the numbers are radomly generated and some hit live numbers, others don't.

I had one of these texts the other month, and was rather bemused to find that the number it had come from was my other mobile, no record of it on the sending phone, really strange!
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# 15
mangadarkogirl
Old 26-08-2009, 10:01 AM
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I emailed vodafone and my network provider. Even though i stated that Vodafone's customer was violating their t&c's they said they can't do anything.

My network provider offered a free number change. I haven't heard anything/got any more sms, so hopefully that's it for now.
Debts to date: A&L Loan: Paid Off!, MMU:Paid Off!,
Student Loan 10,000(+4,000 in interest)14,000,
NHS Bursaries: Paid Off!

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# 16
marrtayy
Old 02-01-2010, 11:05 PM
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Angry from +4477****9635

message: HI - When you can call my number 0208****451 i can be naughty and nice ;-) julia Xx

i would love to know where they have got my number from i seem to think that a website has passed my details on to a third party when i find out i will get back a post on this forum!!

Board Guide Edit -

Telephone numbers removed incase of advertising purposes.

Both are new members of the forum, probably 1 post wonders.

Regards,

Alias_Omega

Last edited by Alias_Omega; 03-01-2010 at 4:01 PM.
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# 17
The Fire Marshal
Old 03-01-2010, 12:51 PM
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Default +4477*****633

Received this mornng....

message: HI - When you can call my number 0208****451 i can be naughty and nice ;-) julia Xx

How do they get our numbers? Im on T-Mobile and have had quite a few of these text over the past 18 months sinse going over to T-Mobile.

And I cannot beleive that there are so many people out there that are still blind to all this and phone these numbers and bow down to their demands.

Board Guide Edit -

Telephone numbers removed from the post for potential advertising purposes.

Alias_Omega

Last edited by Alias_Omega; 03-01-2010 at 4:00 PM.
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# 18
Jo_F
Old 03-01-2010, 1:26 PM
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As I said earlier in the thread, they haven't purchased your number from anywhere, the company send out random texts to random numbers, some are live and some are invalid numbers.

Just ignore the texts, delete them and move on with your life
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# 19
Driver8
Old 03-01-2010, 2:10 PM
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Why don't you just keep a nice very loud whistle and give it a damn good blow down the mouthpiece when they call again?

It really does surprise me how so many people can get caught by scams and then worry themselves sick when they allegedly get threatened over the phone, just tell them in the strongest possible terms where top get off.

If anyone rings me for details i tell them where to go and what to do, my bank called once and they were not pleased that i would not confirm anything with them. Just tell them to foxtrot oscar.
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# 20
missile
Old 03-01-2010, 3:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driver8 View Post
my bank called once and they were not pleased that i would not confirm anything with them. .
That really annoys me. They give you this crap about do not write down passwords, divulge details blah blah and then phone you up and ask for security info. They have your details and they just dialed you f>>>>g number. Do they assume the person answering the phone is impersonating you or what? :confused: Then they try to sell you their financial products
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