Council issues warning over phoney phone cards

Consumers are being advised to be on the alert for Orange Mobile Phone Top Up Cards that may have been tampered with

Hounslow Trading Standards carried out an investigation into a phoney card after a complaint from a customer, who had purchased an Orange Top Up card but was unable to activate it.

Officers discovered that the card, purchased from a local trader in Hounslow, had been activated five days before it had been bought.

At a meeting with Orange Mobile, officers were told that the cards appeared to have been fraudulently activated somewhere within the distribution chain. The silver strip was removed, the card number activated and used, and then a new piece of silver tape or paint was placed over the number so it appeared to be a new card.

Hounslow Trading Standards Officer, Jacqueline Bray, said: “We are advising consumers to be on the look out for cards where the cellophane wrapper is either open or opens very easily. If you have a problem with a card you should return it to the shop of purchase and alert your local trading standards department immediately.”

A spokesman for local telephone company easy-dial said: "In our view, Orange Pay-as-you-Go customers would be much better off if they converted to a monthly service plan with Orange - such as the Virgin OVP package with little or no line rental - and then used the phone to access our service to make inexpensive calls. This way they would not need to buy top-up cards from dealers, and they would almost certainly be paying a lot less for their calls."

If you have any information regarding this matter please contact Hounslow Trading Standards on T: 020 8583 5555.

April 2, 2003

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