Experts have discovered a fraud scheme centered around premium phone numbers that has scammed an estimated four to six billion dollars. These phone numbers were popularized by the International Premium Rate Number (IPRN) service and were intended to help support automatic phone-based purchases. Consumers contact one of these numbers and pay a fee that in turn gives them entrance to certain websites, special product delivery, and other services. These networks were compromised by the International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) and are shifting the telephone traffic to fraudulent premium numbers. Researchers have seen different procedures: including installing malware on PCs and mobile phones, which initiate phone calls without the caller’s knowledge, automating calls from stolen or hijacked SIM cards, and callback spam which makes missed calls to users from premium phone numbers–hoping users will call back and get an automatic charge. Operators have now learned from this and are implementing traffic spike detection filters.
Users should never pay up front for a promise nor believe their caller ID. Self-research should be done to draw information from other users’ experiences.