Victims of Robbery Hit with Huge Phone Bills

October 27, 2014
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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.

4 Responses to Victims of Robbery Hit with Huge Phone Bills

  1. thiefhunter on October 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    So glad to see you back on the job. Missed your posts!

    • Rob Daly on March 10, 2015 at 3:47 am

      Not so active any longer.

  2. Gullible Tourist on June 3, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Sadly this happened to me two weeks ago. After falling victim to the tried and tested Ronaldinho technique, the thief made of with my phone. Confident that I had a password on the phone, roaming set up and only 6% battery – I was certain that little harm could come to me (I had also wiped all my personal data remotely and encrypted the phone).

    The shock came after seeing my phone bill. 73 calls had been made in the space of 5 hours, all to the same number, which led to a $1070 charge.

    My advice is as soon as you realise your device is missing, call your carrier and put an interim block on your SIM card immediately! They can lift it if you get it back.

    Good luck out there!

  3. Darko on August 18, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Any new info on this?
    I was targeted this June! Still battling my provider about this huge bill of almost 7500 euros!

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