Barbadians who read the Nation newspaper yesterday would have learned about a scam where LIME (Cable & Wireless) customers are being targeted by fraudsters. The way the scam works: a LIME customer receives a text or call from a telephone number in the range 00 88213 213505 which could result in the customer being billed up to USD15.00 per minute. LIME (Cable & Wireless) was quick to make it clear that “calls and text messages to these numbers (00 882) will be billed at the applicable international rate.”
In the absence of an investigative media, a Fair Trading Commission (FTC) which is customer centric and a passive consumer advocacy environment, Barbadians have been left to wonder who are to look after their interest in cases highlighted by this latest scam.
Fortunately some of us have the Internet.
The Opera Telcom scam perpetrated on Barbadians last year and featured exhaustively on BU and Barbados Free Press was done with the help of the discussion forum, The Scream. The Scream is a UK based online forum dedicated to exposing information about ISPs. We must confess that the discussions can get very technical.
Luckily for Barbadians they have taken a keen interest in the latest scam which seems to be targeted at LIME (Cable & Wireless). The first nugget of information which should interest Barbadians is that the LIME (Cable & Wireless) customer database may have been hacked by fraudsters. It may explain why only LIME customers are being affected and not Digicel.
Secondly, we want to take issue with the statement which was issued by LIME (Cable & Wireless) reported in the Nation newspaper “calls and text messages to these numbers (00 882) will be billed at the applicable international rate.” According to The Scream “the telephone operator does not keep all that money. According to the international carrier agreement it has with the foreign operator it routes the call to, it must send that operator a portion of the take.” The gist of the quote confirms that whether LIME (Cable&Wireless) want it or not they will be receiving revenue from the fraudulent calls. It is therefore untruthful for LIME (Cable & Wireless) to issue the statement that customers will have to pay applicable international rates. The honest statement would have been to indicate that LIME customers would benefit from adjustments after the redistribution of the the international carrier commissions received by LIME (Cable & Wireless).
For members of the BU family who are interested in the origination of the 882 number, here is what The Scream has posted:
88213 is a virtual country code assigned by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to Telespazio S.p.A. of Rome, Italy about 10 years ago. All numbers starting by 00 88213 are controlled directly or indirectly by Telespazio. They are intended for special calls to the Emsat network vis satellite. International carrier agreements allow your local telephone operator to charge whatever has been agreed to for this international satellite service. Could be as high as 9 euros/minute, maybe even more.
THEREFORE, NEVER, EVER CALL ANY NUMBER STARTING WITH 00 88213 …unless you really know who you are calling!
Here is the link to all the information about this scam. We invite the journalists in Barbados to do some work after reading what our friends over at The Scream have posted.