Sometimes a wrong click was enough. Sometimes not even that was needed to see the money disappear into thin air due to mysterious charges. Money that then – and investigators and investigators of this are certain – went straight into the coffers of the companies.
In the last few days, the Guardia di Finanza has completed what is described in a note as a “vast consumer protection transaction” against “fraudulent activation of paid services on the telephone account”. The hypothesis of the yellow flames – coordinated by the Milan prosecutor – is a heavy one. They put in black and white from the Gdf: “Thousands of customers from the three most important Italian telephone companies, Windtre, Vodafone and Tim, to whom they have been credited amounts not due for undue activation of the so-called value-added services, Vas, on their mobile device “.
The scams also during the coronavirus
In essence, according to the investigation, the companies would have activated services on customers’ cellphones that were never requested and would then have collected the money for the subscriptions every week or every month.
“It was enough to visit a web page, sometimes with the deception of fraudulent advertising banners and, without doing anything – Zero Click -, one instantly found oneself to be subscribed to a service that provides for the payment of a sum of money on the telephone account – they underline the financiers – in exchange for access to content such as news, horoscopes, ringtones, weather, gossip, videos or more. ” And the financiers themselves, as a further note of reproach, point out that the “illicit phenomenon has not stopped even during the recent national health emergency” caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Gossip, horoscopes and ringtones never really requested and yet activated on customers’ customers would have set up a round of earnings of at least 12 million euros, a figure already subject to preventive seizure. In the papers of the investigation – directed by the chief prosecutor Francesco Greco, by the adjunct Eugenio Fusco and by the substitute Francesco Cajani – there are eleven suspects. The hypotheses of crime are “computer fraud to the detriment of consumers”, “abusive intrusion to a telematic system” and – reads the press release – “attempted contractual extortion committed by three subjects, some with managerial roles, of Windtre”.
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Agcom, the Authority for the guarantees in communications, has already been advised by the financiers, who in the past few hours have also carried out searches and seizures at the Milan office – located in Rho – in Windtre. To the same Agcom the yellow flames have sent a communication “in relation to the position of Vodafone and Tim”.