Internet Scams to Watch Out For: Premium SMS Texts
This one involves SMS texting, but often starts off as an online scam.
Fraudsters have figured out that people love to waste time online with quizzes, jokes and inspirational messages. The scam in this case involves convincing people to enter their mobile phone number to receive a daily message sent to their device automatically.
The daily messages do indeed arrive daily as promised, but what also arrives is a monthly charge on their mobile bill for premium SMS text services. The typically amount is $9.99 a month — enough to pay off nicely for the scammers (not a bad haul for one bad joke a day) while flying under the radar of many phone owners who simply assume it’s some sort of system access fee.
A nastier variation sees smartphone owners duped into downloading a malicious app that then hijacks their device to send SMS text messages to a premium rate phone number, piling up charges of hundreds of dollars or more before they’re discovered. Android owners are more susceptible to this one since the iPhone is much more locked down in terms of app installation.
What to do: Contact your wireless provider to block any text service you’ve accidentally subscribed to and if your smartphone is texting on its own, time to wipe it down, re-install everything from scratch and consider malware protection.