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Phone sex ring made millions June 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Police & Crime.
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Twelve people have been arrested on suspicion of running a business that earned 6 million euros over two years by encouraging people to send text messages or call a hotline to arrange dates with women, police in Athens said yesterday.

People were invited to call a phone number to fix a date with the women but were in fact calling a premium-rate number and were kept waiting without ever speaking to anyone. Callers this year alone spent more than 53,600 hours trying to get through to the service.

Those sending text messages were charged between 1.40 and 3.75 euros per SMS to flirt with the women. After the exchange of a few messages, the victims would stop receiving replies. Police said that more than 525,000 text messages had been sent since the start of the year.

The telephone numbers were advertised on a TV channel that broadcast hardcore pornography from a building in Drapetsona, near Piraeus, where the phone sex company was also based. Police are looking for the owner of the company. Five of those arrested are women.

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