Indian company among others fined for deceiving clients

By SiliconIndia   |   Tuesday, 25 May 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: Six companies, including one from India, responsible for a series of telephone and text message frauds have been fined a record £450,000.

The announcement was made on Monday by the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (Icstis), which regulates premium rate lines. It had received 300 complaints about the frauds being conducted by these companies in January and February.

The six companies fined are Greenbay Ltd and Quartel Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Isles, Indiano Communications from India, Fast Way Holdings Ltd of Croatia, Litmus Ltd registered in the US, and Vertical Media Ltd of Malaysia.

Each company has been fined £75,000 for various breaches of the Icstis code of practice, including not making clear the price of the call, and have been barred from operating premium rate services.

During the investigation links were found between the companies, including shared addresses. According to a report in The Daily Telegraph most of the companies began operating immediately after almost identical scams were closed down.

Icstis is continuing investigations into Smile Telecom based in Bury, Lancs which worked as the British agent for the six companies.

These companies contacted thousands of mobile phone users informing them they had won cash prizes of £1,000 or £2,000 and instructing them to call a premium rate number charging as much as £1.50 a minute. However the prizes were mostly holiday or flight vouchers with conditions that made them worthless.

The mobile users received SMS or calls from operators or automated tapes. Sometimes it even appeared as missed calls on the mobiles. But when contacted the number would be that of a recording promoting the fraud.






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