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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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