(Investigator 14, 1990 September)

We came across an advertisement titled "Need your own horoscope? InPho 0555" in a women's magazine and wondered what InPho is.

InPho 00555 is one of at least 7 firms listed in the white pages that offer recorded information services.

There are hundreds of different information services most of them offering useful, factual information but some not. The latter includes soft core pornography, numerology and "Starcall".

Starcall is an alleged personalised astrological service with the horoscope being determined from your birth date. You dial the access code, followed by your day and month of birth, and a taped voice tells you your horoscope. When the message ends the tape starts again which permits the customer to listen for as long as he wants.
The cost varies depending on time of day and distance, up to 57 cents per minute. The call also costs 50% more from a public phone. If you phone from home the amount is billed directly to your account. If you use a public telephone you pay either by phone card or with coins.

TELECOM shares the revenue from particular InPho services with the promoters of the service.

Advertisements for InPho do not stress that STD rates apply. Many clients therefore receive a bigger bill than they feared.

Furthermore, your "personal horoscope" is not particularly personal. Usually astrologers require your time of birth as well as the date. Since Starcall requires only the day and month everyone falls into one of only 366 groups.
Worse still astrology is regarded as unscientific by almost all scientists. (See Investigator 1/42; 3/47; 8/32-34; 9/46-¬47; 11/28; 12/49; 13/70)
    (L De W )