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Initially, consumers had no choice regarding the accessibility to 900/976 numbers on their phones.

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.

In 1992, the Supreme Court allowed a law passed by Congress that created a block on all 900 numbers that provided adult content, except for those consumers who requested access to a specific number in writing.

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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.

These telephone numbers are usually allocated from a national telephone numbering plan in such a way that they are easily distinguished from other numbers.

Computer criminals have used premium-rate numbers to defraud unsuspecting Internet users.

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.

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 ceased to air on television as of the mid-1990s.

Using 900 numbers for adult entertainment lines was a prevalent practice in the early years of the industry.

A call to either one of these numbers can result in a high per-minute or per-call charge.

For example, a "psychic hotline" type of 1-900 number may charge .99 for the first minute and 99 cents for each additional minute.

Another now-uncommon premium-rate scam involves television programming that induces young children to dial the number, banking on the notion that they will be unaware of the charges that will be incurred.

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.

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