Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gone Phising?

Clever Phising Scam?

I had a text earlier from a company claiming to be O2, it says,
Just to let you know, it's almost time to renew your contract. To hear your options please call free on 0800 902 0205

I immediately googled the number and found it on a website They've been quite clever with the website, linking to the main domain and using the O2 logo whilst saying that the page is under construction. But they don't forget to mention that if you want to upgrade call the number 0800 902 0205.

Googling led me to discover this page, a Digital Spy forum thread where it seems that the domain name isn't owned by O2, but in fact by a chap called Jeremy Gough. The Digital Spy forum users go on to contact O2's helpdesk who say that the site is not a fake.

Let me explain why they O2 it's not a fake.

How the industry works

There must be 30 million mobile phones in Britain now. If just half are on 12 or 18 month contracts (as opposed to pay as you go) then there could be as many as 10 million phones upgraded every year.

There are 5 major networks so, roughly speaking, they would have about 2 million phones to upgrade per year, per network. So, O2 could be upgrading as many as 10,000 users per working day.

It is simply not feasible for one company to upgrade that many phones per day without multiple warehouses and logistical-nightmare-stress-headaches. So they encourage other companies to do their distribution for them, by giving them cash-per-contact incentives.

I believe is one of those companies.

So the good customer service people at O2 are saying it's not a fake because they know that are convincing people to stay with O2 for another 18 months and O2 are reaping the benefit.

That said, I'm still not going to upgrade my phone with them.

Update: It seems that now redirects to the O2 upgrade page. I don't know if that's because O2 now own the site, or whether the owner has set up a redirector to make their page look more genuine. Interestingly, the O2 upgrade page doesn't feature the 0800 number they ask you to ring...

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