Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bad fraudsters; Evil politicians

Heard vaguely on the wife's radio about the latest premium rate number fraud - people receiving SMS messages saying that they have been spotted, by the police, using their phone while driving. So they call the number, even if only to say "but I can't drive", and the fraudsters are making whoopee.

First thought was "good one, if not quite new". (Possibly driven by the fact that banks are now offering SMS services, such as balance notifications, and are also sending SMS messages to get the recalcitrant to contact their "debt management" "help"lines, the phishing gangs have been doing this, at a small scale, for some time. Premium rate pays and as a "brucie-bonus" you get their online banking authentication details. It's not too common because, even in bulk, SMS messages cost and even with VOIP and voice or dial-pad based automation, it simply doesn't scale as well as email / web scams.) Hopefully ICSTIS will get the numbers shut down shortly.

But then the second thought - with the National Identity Register, this would be entirely possible. You(r car) are caught on CCTV, the Congestion Charge monitoring cameras, a GATSO or a traffic light camera. (Or by a new variant of the "empowered citizen" or snooping bureaucrat increasingly common.) Whether or not you were the target of the picture, you are now guilty of a motoring offence. DVLA records give you up, NIR gives your contact details (including your mobile number.) With a bit of minor illiberal tinkering with the law, something this bunch of mendacious statist cretins are clearly capable of doing, the mere sending of the SMS can slam the £60 fine onto your phone bill (actually, the receipt of the SMS at your mobile service provider) and it wouldn't even take that for the 3 points to automagically appear on your licence.

I'll go to work and think happy thoughts now.


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