CLAIMS that a phone scam could leave people having to pay more than £200 for a single call have been dismissed as a myth.
An email is going around which warns people about the scam.
But the watchdog set up to monitor premium rate phone lines says it is all an "urban myth".
The warning email states: "The phone rings and you receive a recorded message which says `Congratulations. We are calling to advise you that you have won an all-expenses paid trip. Please press 9 now to hear further details'."
But the email adds: "If you press 9, you'll be connected to a premium line that bills in the region of £20 per minute.
"If you press 9 and connect, even if you disconnect immediately, the other end will stay connected for a minimum of five minutes, at a cost to you of £100."
The email warns that if people stay connected the message lasts 11 minutes, leaving the victim with a phone bill way over £200 for the single call.
The email adds: "Unfortunately, the calls are originating from outside the UK and BT and other providers are relatively powerless to act. The only safe solution is to hang up before the message prompts you to press 9."
But an organisation set up to oversee all providers of phone services in the UK said the scenario in the email simply could not happen.
Mr Suhail Bhat, spokesman for the Independent Committee For The Supervision Of Standards Of Telephone Information Services - ICSTIS for short - said: "Premium rate lines can only operate in the country they originate in and no-one in the UK can charge any more than £1.50 for a premium rate service.
"The technology simply does not exist for the call charges to be reversed simply by pressing the number 9. Also, once a phone has been put down, the call it automatically terminated.
"This email is just one of those urban myths that goes around. If anyone receives this email, simply delete it and don't send it on," said Mr Bhat.