Thought everyone might like to see the info below - I also received this email warning from a friend but always check these out before forwarding as they are very often hoaxes. I usually use google to find a scam/hoax site to check them out. There are lots of good sites on the internet to debunk these messages. However,from the info below it would seem that some of the message was valid but is no longer operating. Hope it helps to reassure. Best wishes Sue xx [QUOTE]
This email warning has been circulated since the end of 2005. Recent submissions indicate that the warning is once again rapidly gaining momentum. The information in the message was mostly factual. However, the particular scam described in the message was shut down at the end of 2005 and the information is no longer relevant. The continued forwarding of this warning to others is now pointless and counterproductive.
PhonepayPlus (previously named "ICSTIS"), the UK's regulatory body for all premium rate charged telecommunications services, issued the following statement in October 2007:
A STATEMENT FROM PHONEPAYPLUS ABOUT THE CURRENT 'POSTAL SCAM' CHAIN EMAIL
PhonepayPlus, the phone-paid services regulator, is aware that a chain e-mail about an alleged postal scam is being circulated on the internet. The email refers to the Royal Mail, Trading Standards and ICSTIS (PhonepayPlus’ former name).
PhonepayPlus appreciates that recipients of the email may want to find out more information about the alleged scam and has therefore issued the following statement:
• The chain email refers to a service that was shut down by us in December 2005.
• We subsequently fined the company that was operating the service, Studio Telecom (based in Belize), £10,000.
• The service is NO LONGER running and has NOT been running since December 2005.
• The email refers to a £15 charge for simply being connected to a recorded message. This is NOT TRUE – a £15 connection charge does NOT exist. The service in question actually cost £1.50 per minute and lasted six minutes, making a total cost of £9 if callers stayed on the line for the full six minutes.
• You do NOT need to contact us, or the Royal Mail, about this service as it was stopped almost two years ago.
• If you receive a copy of the email warning you about the alleged scam, please do NOT forward it to others. Instead, please forward this statement from PhonepayPlus.
• Please go to www.phonepayplus.org.uk/pdfs_news/ConsumerGuide.pdf
for useful information about how to recognise phone-paid services and understand what they cost, and some simple tips to help you enjoy using services with confidence.
• For more detailed information about our work, please visit www.phonepayplus.org.uk
19 October 2007
There is also no current warnings about this particular scam on either the Trading Standards website or the Royal Mail website.
In fact, as noted above, the phone numbers used in the scam were switched off by ICSTIS in December 2005 and Studio Telecom, the company responsible, was investigated and subsequently fined.
When the scam was operating around December 2005, many UK householders reported receiving a card, ostensibly from a package delivery business named "Parcel Delivery Services" or "PDS". The card advised recipients to phone a number provided in order to arrange delivery of a package, claimed to be a digital camera.
However the contact number was a premium rate line that was charged at £1.50 per minute. A disclaimer in very small print on the bottom of the card informed recipients that the contact number would be charged at a premium rate. Although the cards claimed to originate from Wrexham in the UK, the company responsible for this scam is actually based in Belize, Central America.
At the time the scam was operating, those who called the number were asked to answer a number of market research questions before being given a "security confirmation code" to claim their camera. Callers were therefore kept on the line for some time and charged at a rate of £1.50 per minute. Not surprisingly, none of those who lodged complaints about the scam ever received their digital camera.
Although the scam outlined in the message was true, the claim that an immediate £15 fee was charged as well as the per-minute cost was unfounded. As noted in the above statement an instant connection charge of a £15 does not exist.
While this particular scam has now been terminated, premium rate phone fraud is not uncommon. People should watch for similar scams that attempt to trick them into making expensive, premium rate phone calls. Service providers and premium rate phone regulators such as PhonepayPlus will generally provide information to consumers about premium rate scams.
A real problem with emailed warning such as this is that they often continue to circulate for months or even years after the described threat has disappeared. They also tend to mutate as they travel, further diffusing the truth and relevance of the information they contain.
Before forwarding scam warnings, recipients should always check that the warning is genuine and current. False or outdated warning emails such as this one do nothing more than add to the clutter in our already junk-ridden inboxes and spread misinformation. [UNQUOTE]