Caution: Mobile Phone Text Message Scam!

This could happen to you; be careful:


24 Jan 2006, 03:04:39 PM Reporter: Helen Wellings

They're telemarketer's dreams -- mobile phones generate fortunes for scammers. With around 20 million mobile phone users around Australia, those fraudsters can't lose. In fact complaints to the Telecommunications Ombudsman about bills for premium rate SMS's have tripled in the past year -- and text spams top the list. Gordon Renouf, of the Australian Consumers' Association, publishers of Choice magazine, warns "There's more and more of this kind of spam going to go out to consumers. It's only going to get worse unless the regulations are fixed up."

The latest rackets attacking mobile users left, right and centre - offers of so-called "free" ringtones, "you've won a competition for a trip" scams and innocent-looking text messaging that tricks you into replying.

"All the text messages were inviting and playful and much like a friend would text you that's really what got me in," says IT expert Steve Marr. He was intrigued by an SMS from someone say "Hi it's Susan. I'm back. Contact me." Thinking it was an old acquaintance just back from overseas, naturally he sent back a text message. "It came back with a very bizarre message saying "blonde hair blue eyes long legs. Does that help?" I thought I still don't know who this person is but they're having a lend of me. Someone's got a sense of humour I'll play along." After a few text messages, he discovered he couldn't make a call from his prepaid mobile, even though he'd just bought $30 worth of credit. Steve was scammed! By replying to the message, he'd automatically become a subscriber to a chat service. Every time the service messages him, it costs him $4 up; his replies cost him 50 cents.


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So don't reply to any Text Message you get unless you know the person for sure or you could be signing up for a chat service and not know it!

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