+4470 – The scammer’s friend

If you receive any email that mentions any phone number starting with +4470, then you can be 99.99999999% certain that it is a scam of some sort.

+4470 numbers might look like a normal UK mobile phone number (which start with +447), but they aren’t – the +4470 numbers are personal redirect numbers that can be redirected anywhere in the world at no cost to the call recipient. These numbers are like all their dreams come true to scammers located outside the UK as they can now hide their true location and claim to be based in the UK and have a UK phone number to prove it. You may think that you’re talking to Barclays Bank, a UK lawyer or even a member of the UK Government, when in reality you’re actually on the phone to a low-life scumbag sitting in an Internet cafe thousands of miles away.

There really is no legitimate use for a +4470 number. No one in the UK needs them as they can easily use their own mobile and if they happen to be overseas and need to receive a call then it would probably be cheaper for them to buy a local SIM card and for their contacts to call that. The only reason to have one is to appear to be in the UK when you aren’t and there really is no legitimate reason for that.

+4470 numbers are regulated by PhonepayPlus, who regulate all of the UK’s premium rate services, but it appears that they do nothing to prevent anyone from anywhere in the world getting hold of a number. There are a number of solutions to the problem. Firstly, the UK Government could suspend the numbers all together, which is unlikely to be popular with the companies that offer these numbers as they make a nice profit each time one of them is used (not to mention the loss of taxes the UK Government would make on the reduced phone company profits). If that is a step to far then there are a number of other options.

  1.  As the calls are designed to allow people to appear to be in the UK and allow UK residents to call them at a lower cost than having to phone overseas, the numbers could be blocked to callers from outside the UK.
  2. Add an announcement to all calls before connection, stating the country that the number is being forwarded to.
  3. Block the forwarding of the numbers to certain countries that are identified as likely scam hotspots.
  4. Require proper registration of the numbers (using provable identification).

Scammers will often try to disguise the fact that they are using a redirect number by using strange arrangements of the numbers or adding parenthasis, dashes, etc so that the +4470 is not immediately recognisable, so always look at the actual digits in the number.

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