In many European countries, for example France, Germany and the United Kingdom, it was common for organisations to operate customer service lines on premium-rate numbers using prefixes that fall outside the scope of the country's premium-rate number regulations.
One variant, targeted at children too young to dial a number, enticed children to hold the phone up to the television set while the DTMF tones of the number were played.
This type of scam was especially popular in the late '80s to early '90s in the United States before tougher regulations on the 900 number business forced many of these businesses to close.
In some jurisdictions, telephone companies are required by law to offer such blocking.
Adult chat lines (phone sex) and tech support are a very common use of premium-rate numbers.
Unlike a normal call, part of the call charge is paid to the service provider, thus enabling businesses to be funded via the calls.
While the billing is different, calls are usually routed the same way they are for a toll-free telephone number, being anywhere despite the area code used.
However, in 1987, after a child had accumulated a bill of ,000, From the early 1980s through the early 1990s, it was common to see commercials promoting 1-900 numbers to children featuring such things as characters famous from Saturday morning cartoons to Santa Claus.
Due to complaints from parent groups about kids not knowing the dangers and high cost of such calls, the FTC enacted new rules and such commercials directed at children ceased to air on television as of the mid-1990s.
One scheme involved inducing users to download a program known as a dialer that surreptitiously dialed a premium-rate number, accumulating charges on the user's phone bill without their knowledge.