Lottery scams tapping into UK personal phone numbers

An alert issued by Sophos claims that 070xx personal phone numbers are being exploited by scamsters on the Internet.

These 070xx numbers are tariffed at rates equal to or higher than a mobile phone during peak times, with a percentage of the call revenue going to the owner - usually a telco - of the number concerned.

Whilst the numbers have, as Sophos says, their honest and practical uses, their easy availability makes them a perfect tool for cyber criminals looking for financial gain.

According to Sophos, scamsters are sending our emails suggesting that recipients have won a large cash prize and asking them to call an 070xx number to stake their claim.

As well as getting a few pence per minute call revenue from callers, the scamsters then try and extra personal information to `verify' the lottery winners,

Graham Cluley, Sophos' senior technology consultant (fx: touches forelock in presence of IT security royalty), said that scammers are scooping up these free 070 personal phone numbers, redirecting them overseas, and posing as British lottery officials.

"They can easily cycle through a bunch of these 'throw-away' numbers, using them to con innocent victims into revealing confidential information that can then be used to empty bank accounts and commit identity theft," he explained.

According to Cluley, with 070 numbers, callers have no way - short of persuading the 070 service provider to tell them - to determine where their call ends up.

"They may think they are speaking to an official in London, when really they're on the phone to a scammer in Lagos," he said, adding that people should be extremely suspicious of any email, fax or letter they receive telling them they have won a major prize in a lottery "as they may be left with an empty bank account."...