Beware of Premium Rate Phone Call Scam

The Consumer Council of Fiji is warning mobile phone users to be aware of scam text messages providing unknown overseas phone numbers with 881 as the area code.

This comes after a mobile user received 5 text messages from an overseas number informing the consumer to call free on 00881842011218 for a last chance to get a cheque of $15,000. Mobile users are warned that if they call the number, they are charged at a very high rate.

The Consumer Council warns consumers and members of the public not to even consider replying to text messages from this number, or to persons they do not know. It is a new way to make money by the scammers which runs in thousands of dollars.

The Council is warning consumers not to be excited with such text messages and phone calls because it is the consumer who will ultimately lose money. Consumers must think why they will get a cheque of $15,000 from an unknown number.  The Council would like to advise consumers not to respond to text messages or missed calls from these phone numbers.

During periods of economic hardship, there are always people around who try to take advantage of the vulnerable people to swindle money off them. The Council wishes to advise consumers that they must not give their bank account details, PIN numbers and passport numbers to any person(s), or any other personal financial information via these scam messages. They should not at any time provide their private phone or fax numbers, as these can be used for further correspondences from the scammers or used to defraud others.

The Council calls on mobile phone companies – Vodafone, Digicel and Inkk to take on the responsibility of stopping such SPAM and unsolicited text messages being sent to their customers. Mobile phone users should not be inundated with SPAM texts which are not just irritating but impinge on consumers’ rights to choice and privacy.

Premila Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Council of Fiji

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