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Telephone companies typically offer blocking services to allow telephone customers to prevent access to these number ranges from their telephones.
These telephone numbers are usually allocated from a national telephone numbering plan in such a way that they are easily distinguished from other numbers.Adult chat lines (phone sex) and tech support are a very common use of premium-rate numbers.Other services include directory enquiries, weather forecasts, competitions and voting (especially relating to television shows).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.
A 1-900 telephone number, in the North American Numbering Plan, has the form 1-900-###-####, and is often called a 900 number or a 1-900 number ("one-nine-hundred").
This practice continues, along with the use of these numbers for things such as software technical support, banking access, and stock tips.
Adult entertainment 900 numbers have been largely absent from AT&T and MCI since 1991.
Earlier, 976 numbers used 976 as a local prefix (970 or 540 in some markets like New York state), though it was not assigned to a specific telephone exchange like other prefixes.
These numbers were dialed as any other number, such as 976-1234.
Diplomatic services, such as the US Embassy in London or the UK Embassy in Washington, have also charged premium rates for calls from the general public.