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How to wring cash out of a wrong number

As Britain’s Got Talent responds to claims that the show is “fixed”, Evil Stick Man provides the step to step guide on how to really make a bundle on talent shows and their public phone-ins.

This edition of Evil Stick Man was taken from issue #21 of Delayed Gratification, which is available in our online shop. Check out our first ever book ‘How to be evil’ for more get-rich-quick schemes by our Machiavellian doodle.


Scan the TV guide for Programme X, the biggest reality show involving a telephone vote via a premium rate phone line.


Purchase the phone numbers for every one-digit variation of the official lines. For example if a number is 09020 291077, purchase 09020 291076, 09020 292077 etc. Set the per-minute charges at the maximum rate allowed.


Take out an ad in a little-read local newspaper inviting people to vote in a competition to find the world’s most attractive gerbil including a series of photos of gerbils in bow ties and novelty hats. List all numbers.


Record a generic answerphone message for all your lines thanking the caller for their vote, but not mentioning the series, programme, contestant or gerbil.


On the night the show airs, wait for the fat-fingered, drunk and numerically dyslexic to call your line by mistake and be charged.


The following week wait for the same people to call again. Cackle maniacally.


If the telecoms regulator contacts you, show them your advertisement for your legitimate gerbil beauty competition. Claim to be unaware of Show X.


When the series finishes, repeat step 1-6 with the next big show.


You are now rich. Pay Ant and Dec to swap names by deed poll just to see if anyone notices.

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