The Guardian on October 25th ran a story with the lede: “Just days after Vodafone sparked outrage by demanding £15,000 from the victim of a mobile phone theft in Barcelona, it emerged that it has slapped a £4,300 bill on a second holidaymaker on the same college reunion trip to the city, who also had his phone snatched.”
The piece continues: “Last week, the Guardian described how Welsh primary school teacher Osian Rhys Edwards, 29, was facing financial ruin after Vodafone insisted he was liable for its “reduced” bill of £10,500-worth of premium rate calls made by organised criminals – money he simply doesn’t have and would wreck his chances of buying a home.”
Robbed in Barcelona is curious about these premium rate numbers. We’re certain the criminal must get a cut of the overall spend. Can anyone enlighten us who runs these lines and whether we can identify our local criminals and their premium rate partners by following-up on them. We wish Police would follow this line of enquiry. We’re reach out to one of the victims to find out a little more detail.
The Guardian goes on to confirm our theory* on this: “The group has become a victim of one of Europe’s fastest-growing crimes, increasingly carried out by organised gangs that target tourists and, within minutes of the theft, use the stolen sim cards to repeatedly dial premium rate numbers until they are blocked – numbers set up to maximise revenue.”
By the way folks, don’t just set a password on your phone, also put one on your sim card.
* We’ve been writing about this since February 2012, see here.