What are '087' numbers?
Telephone numbers starting with '087' are 'service numbers' charged at special rates which are usually higher than the cost of calling a normal landline number. The costs of calling '087' numbers includes of a surcharge or 'service charge' that is used to pay for the service being provided. Typical uses of '087' numbers include:
- chargeable information and support lines;
- event ticket and travel booking services;
- conference call services;
- pre-sales information lines;
- horoscopes, tarot and fortune-telling lines; and
- dating, chat and adult entertainment lines.
Unlike traditional landline phone numbers, '087' numbers are not associated with any specific geographic location.
Currently, numbers in the '0870', '0871' and '0872' ranges are being allocated.
'087' number call costs
The total costs that apply when calling '087' numbers are made up of two separate parts:
- an access charge, which is set by the caller's phone company and charged whenever they call any number starting '084', '087', '09' or '118'. This varies from around 13p per minute on landlines to up to 65p per minute from mobiles; and
- a service charge, which is an extra charge that benefits the organisation being called. The organisation are responsible for informing callers of what charge rate applies. Service charges can be up to 13p per minute, 13p per call or a combination of both.
This means that '087' numbers will usually cost more to call than a normal landline. Also, they will not be included in any free call allowances or bundled minutes that your tariff offers.
The use of '087' numbers for customer service lines is now forbidden by law and most reputable companies no longer use such numbers for enquiries either.
'087' missed call scam
Some scams have been run using '087' numbers. Typically, the owners of a rogue '087' number will automatically dial thousands of regular landline and mobile phone numbers, but hang up almost immediately. The fraudsters hope that people who receive these calls then see the number in their list of missed calls and call the number back out of curiosity. The '087' number's owner then makes money from each call back they receive. Often, the fraudsters will arrange for the '087' number to connect the caller to a long recorded message or even a fake ringing tone, as a way of keeping them on the line for longer and increasing the call cost. The best way to avoid falling victim to the scam is simply not to call back numbers that start with '070', '084', '087' or '09'.
Bogus '087' customer service numbers
Companies are prohibited from using '087' service numbers for post-sales customer service lines and most organisations have also stopped using them for other enquiries due to their unpopularity with the public. Therefore, If you find an '087' contact number for an organisation when searching online, double-check the details on their own official website first. The number you have found may well be a money-making number that belongs to a third-party and not the organisation itself.
Regulation and advice
The Phone-paid Services Authority regulates '087' numbers that have a service charge of more than 7p per minute or 7p per call, as well as all '087' numbers used for chatlines, adult services and internet diallers. They can advise on related problems.