Telus Unearths Olympic Phone Scam

by Jordan Richardson on February 18, 2010

Large public events like the Olympics are almost always gold mines of opportunities for scammers and fraudsters and the marvelous events in Vancouver are proving to be no different.

Telus has unearthed a pay phone scam that appears to be targeting tourists in Vancouver. While marveling at the fact that pay phones do, in fact, still exist, a Telus technician discovered stickers advertising a 1-866 international calling number posted on Telus phones.

The sticker looked official and featured a pile of international flags, inviting victims to dial their toll-free number to make a long distance call.

“If you use that 1-866 number to dial overseas, they are going to charge you $24 dollars to connect the call, plus $2.89 a minute – absolutely outrageous rates. So in our view this is a scam,” said Telus spokesperson Shawn Hall.

Telus has pulled some 70 stickers from pay phones around Vancouver, all of which could be found in key tourist hubs.

The stickers lead unsuspecting victims to deal with a company calling itself International Satellite Communications. International Satellite Communications apparently has quite the trail of unsatisfied victims, er, customers.

A cursory Google turns up several trouble spots, so it appears that Telus’ estimation and quick action is on the right track. The most common complaints leveled against International Satellite Communications relate to unauthorized billing and unauthorized charges, presumably taken from the credit cards of unsuspecting victims.

The company is apparently from the United States and boasts an address in San Ysidro, California. San Ysidro is a community located in San Diego. A call to their “customer service” line came up as “not available in my area at this time,” predictably, and any email requests for interviews or answers have gone unmet.

Telus is currently investigating whether there’s anything they can do in terms of legal action with International Satellite Communications. They have advised VANOC officials about the problem and are asking the public not to use any service advertised via sticker on a Telus pay phone. Telus has not authorized any such advertising.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jason February 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

Well, it’s nice to see that Telus won’t stand for anyone but themselves screwing their victims, er, customers!

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