Dial +44 70 (UK number) for international online fraud

A few years ago I created the Scam-O-Matic (www.scamomatic.com), a website that every month has helped thousands of people worldwide by automatically diagnosing online fraud emails that people have submitted to it. Scamomatic.com recognizes fake lotteries, “dead customer” scams, “dying widow” scams and many other common formats from scammers from Nigeria that you may have seen in your inbox before. Even when it can’t pinpoint the exact type of scam, it often recognizes it as a generic scam format, largely thanks to the presence in the email of UK phone numbers that start with +44 70. These numbers are everywhere in Nigerian online scams, regardless of the precise scam format. The +44 70 prefix might as well be called the country code of Nigerian scammers.

If you receive any email that mentions any +4470 phone number, do not reply to it! You can submit the body of any suspicious email message to www.scamomatic.com for instant feedback about what kind of scam it might be.

These +4470 numbers are a gift to online scammers by British phone regulators. They are primarily owned by obscure British phone companies offering an anonymous call forwarding service. The economic model of these services is simple: The caller dials a rather expensive UK number and the UK service provider forwards the incoming call to a somewhat less expensive to call international number (for example a Nigerian mobile phone, which remains hidden from the caller), pocketing the difference between the call rates. For example, the caller might pay 50 cents per minute to call a +44 70 number and the call will then be forwarded to a Nigerian mobile phone that costs 25 cents per minute, leaving 25 cents per minute as a net margin for the service operator. The more successful the scammers are, the more money the phone company makes. Who ever said crime doesn’t pay?

These UK phone numbers are very attractive to scammers: When people can be made to believe that they are dealing with a bank, lawyer or government official in London, UK when they’re actually talking to a scammer on his cell phone in an Internet cafe in Lagos, Nigeria then they are much more easily defrauded by criminals.

As far as I can tell these numbers aren’t really being used for any other purpose than to enable international online crimes to be committed. In some nine years of tracking Nigerian scam emails, I have yet to come across a single legitimate user of a +44 70 number. I really don’t understand why the British government has allowed those services to continue to operate.

Now, of course the service operators can claim that they don’t know that their services are being used for criminal purposes unless someone tells them about it. On the other hand, they are not exactly making it easy to report abuse and the high prices of these services means that it’s unlikely that they’ll get much legitimate use, if any.

There are several ways to curb abuse, other than suspending +44 70 numbers altogether and I would encourage the UK government to seriously consider them:

  • The UK regulators could make it a requirement that calls via this service either originate in the UK or terminate in the UK, i.e. to prevent unrestricted global relaying, with say calls from India or the US being forwarded to Nigeria or Côte d’Ivoire.
  • The UK regulators could require service providers to announce the country name of the phone number to which the call is being forwarded if the destination number is not a UK number.
  • The UK regulators could require service providers to block forwarding to mobile phone numbers in certain countries, e.g. Nigeria

Below is a sample list of +44 70 numbers that appeared in Nigerian scams reported to Scam-O-Matic over the course of the last seven days. These roughly 60 phone numbers per day are only the tip of the iceberg:

+447005801505
+447005802020
+447005810692
+447005934945
+447005942459
+447005963237
+447005977097
+447006001100
+447006002121
+447006002413
+447006029116
+447006062478
+447010023307
+447010027439
+447010027978
+447010027983
+447010028455
+447010030769
+447010285923
+447010306559
+447010476294
+447010786457
+447011120379
+447011120510
+447011120524
+447011121450
+447011121596
+447011128170
+447011129280
+447011129286
+447011129446
+447011130062
+447011130670
+447011130769
+447011131077
+447011131152
+447011133259
+447011140499
+447011140945
+447011140989
+447011146747
+447011146830
+447011147295
+447011149054
+447011152991
+447011153129
+447011162749
+447011163186
+447011163846
+447011164243
+447011182522
+447011183455
+447011184113
+447011196412
+447011197245
+447011197787
+447014225697
+447014232391
+447014232411
+447014232442
+447014236733
+447014244984
+447014275175
+447014275728
+447017026507
+447017430128
+447017769494
+447017848035
+447023011587
+447023056559
+447023058575
+447023069806
+447023086665
+447023087509
+447023092593
+447024010876
+447024010915
+447024011554
+447024012660
+447024013770
+447024014859
+447024016712
+447024017968
+447024018504
+447024018707
+447024018725
+447024018963
+447024019584
+447024019588
+447024021204
+447024021389
+447024023138
+447024023643
+447024024530
+447024024914
+447024024938
+447024025942
+447024028606
+447024029852
+447024032255
+447024033542
+447024034362
+447024034768
+447024035958
+447024036606
+447024037907
+447024038051
+447024038950
+447024041571
+447024041989
+447024042397
+447024043571
+447024045842
+447024046548
+447024047607
+447024047708
+447024051081
+447024051604
+447024053655
+447024054764
+447024056650
+447024056684
+447024057656
+447024057695
+447024059725
+447024061362
+447024061659
+447024061805
+447024062162
+447024063633
+447024063645
+447024064180
+447024065549
+447024066713
+447024066858
+447024067752
+447024068617
+447024069933
+447024070671
+447024071597
+447024071804
+447024071867
+447024072603
+447024072995
+447024073988
+447024074220
+447024074568
+447024074742
+447024075722
+447024075954
+447024077025
+447024078351
+447024079530
+447024079908
+447024080526
+447024080571
+447024080634
+447024082668
+447024082680
+447024082728
+447024083093
+447024083705
+447024084762
+447024084918
+447024084994
+447024086967
+447024087401
+447024087599
+447024087905
+447024091678
+447024091701
+447024091706
+447024092775
+447024092795
+447024092863
+447024095774
+447024095778
+447024095878
+447024096802
+447024096869
+447024097854
+447024098802
+447024098874
+447024099606
+447031740924
+447031742574
+447031744227
+447031744980
+447031744994
+447031745967
+447031746067
+447031746887
+447031747046
+447031747509
+447031749721
+447031801246
+447031801866
+447031803498
+447031803820
+447031808512
+447031809778
+447031814575
+447031814720
+447031815436
+447031816735
+447031818230
+447031821851
+447031822608
+447031823431
+447031824330
+447031825003
+447031826670
+447031830878
+447031833248
+447031833760
+447031834660
+447031835615
+447031835762
+447031837227
+447031843396
+447031844360
+447031845639
+447031846542
+447031850801
+447031851126
+447031855107
+447031855527
+447031858919
+447031859268
+447031859327
+447031859972
+447031861174
+447031861534
+447031865718
+447031877392
+447031877975
+447031880502
+447031885537
+447031890014
+447031891762
+447031894541
+447031898197
+447031903871
+447031906765
+447031908701
+447031909751
+447031911974
+447031913322
+447031915331
+447031918554
+447031918592
+447031918698
+447031918840
+447031920863
+447031928723
+447031930960
+447031931805
+447031934581
+447031938867
+447031940670
+4470319419882
+447031943771
+447031954666
+447031956661
+447031958680
+447031960513
+447031964131
+447031971731
+447031971766
+447031972833
+447031972850
+447031973785
+447031974969
+447031978795
+447031979858
+447031982694
+447031983660
+447031983882
+447031984862
+447031988864
+447031993596
+447031993967
+447031996818
+447032334576
+447035900183
+447035900344
+447035900914
+447035901588
+447035902188
+447035902683
+447035910276
+447035911140
+447035912873
+447035913994
+447035915768
+447035922616
+447035923742
+447035924448
+447035927916
+447035928180
+447035931142
+447035937446
+447035939194
+447035939320
+447035940617
+447035944729
+447035944779
+447035947431
+447035950853
+447035951254
+447035951405
+447035954295
+447035955376
+447035956312
+447035959966
+447035960942
+447035965038
+447035966176
+447035966188
+447035966289
+447035966480
+447035968588
+447035969249
+447035969496
+447035969754
+447035969801
+447035969823
+447035972572
+447035973164
+447035973821
+447035977317
+447035978042
+447035978343
+447035978550
+447035983963
+447035988651
+447035988847
+447035989086
+447035992118
+447035996148
+447035997215
+447035997533
+447035998886
+447035999080
+447040110515
+447041743214
+447045702581
+447045704323
+447045704570
+447045705126
+447045705374
+447045706975
+447045707234
+447045707660
+447045708253
+447045709129
+447045709292
+447045710531
+447045710917
+447045711325
+447045712243
+447045712434
+447045712662
+447045712816
+447045712993
+447045713815
+447045714219
+447045719541
+447045720546
+447045721125
+447045721617
+447045722125
+447045724094
+447045725176
+447045727388
+447045729804
+447045733035
+447045733518
+447045736862
+447045742669
+447045743467
+447045747569
+447045748609
+447045754338
+447045759317
+447045767521
+447045768060
+447045770961
+447045776356
+447045780693
+447045782120
+447045783777
+447045785147
+447045785239
+447045790181
+447045791709
+447045795051
+447045798638
+447045799030
+447053491702
+447053492393
+447075158182
+447092849621
+447092861761
+447092864823
+447092980578
+447092981646
+447092981769
+447092982175

653 thoughts on “Dial +44 70 (UK number) for international online fraud

  1. JJ, you asked:
    > Hi! What if the number that starts with +4470 redirected you
    > to a person in UK? Is it still a scam

    The whole point of +4470 numbers is that you can reach someone under a UK
    number who is not in the UK.

    For example, if they were using a UK geographic number such as a +44 20x
    London number, they could directly give you that number to call and it would
    be cheaper for you.

    In the 14 years that I’ve been dealing with online fraud I only heard of a
    single case of a legitimate users of a +44 70 number and that particular
    user did not claim to be in the UK.

    So as a rule of thumb, if someone uses a +4470 number and claims to be in
    the UK, you can assume it to be a scam.

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