Telebilling TBS Telecom Billing Service Scam

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
20 replies 12.7K views
jdawsonjdawson Forumite
4 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
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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Replies

  • maninthestreetmaninthestreet Forumite
    16.1K Posts
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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?
    "You were only supposed to blow the bl**dy doors off!!"
  • I called using a mobile phone.
  • maninthestreetmaninthestreet Forumite
    16.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture
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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???
    "You were only supposed to blow the bl**dy doors off!!"
  • 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 (!!!!!!!)...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...
  • 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?
  • julie1075julie1075 Forumite
    222 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
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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!
  • 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
  • wacko911wacko911 Forumite
    677 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
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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 ;)
  • maninthestreetmaninthestreet Forumite
    16.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture
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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.
    "You were only supposed to blow the bl**dy doors off!!"
  • 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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