I’ve been a victim of an SMS scam :(

smiley_embarrassedI’ve always hated my smartphone, but today I hate it even more because I’ve just discovered that I’m the victim of an expensive scam.

This is what I think happened :

– I was browsing [on my desktop, not the phone] and came across some kind of competition – it may have been to win an iPad. As part of the process I had to enter contact details [yes, I know…I KNOW!] Those contact details must have included my mobile phone number.

– I can’t remember whether I actually filled in the whole form and sent it, or whether I got cold feet and tried to cancel. I’d like to think some semblance of commonsense returned at the last minute but….probably not. Money was very tight back then, otherwise I’d never have looked at a competition in the first place.

– Anyway, very soon after, I began receiving scads of spam on my email address. That was relatively easy to deal with as my email client has quite a good spam filter. So…problem solved. Or not.

– In hindsight I now realise that the weird spam texts I was getting on my smartphone began at about the same time as the spam on my email address. I deleted them and got on with things. But they kept coming back.

– Then, I started to get rather large mobile phone bills, but I figured it was just because I was late paying so they all rolled up into one.

Stupidity compounding stupidity, I continued paying those large bills despite money being tight. For months. Only on Friday did I think to query my mobile phone provider about my bills. That was when they told me that I’d been paying for a premium SMS service all this time. And yes, every one of those spam SMS texts was costing ME about 5 dollars. 😦

I had no idea that any of this was even possible. What was a premium SMS service? I didn’t know. How could something online affect my mobile phone? I didn’t know. How could spam cos me money? I didn’t know.

In fact I still don’t know how any of this is possible. But it happened, and I really should have known better.

Making this confession in public is my punishment for being so stupid for so long. I can only hope that my experience alerts others out there to the fact that this is even possible.

If you start getting spam SMS texts [mine were all about general knowledge questions] call your service provider straight away, and get the bloody subscription stopped! And, as always, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

A very unhappy,

Meeks

 

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

24 responses to “I’ve been a victim of an SMS scam :(

  • anne54

    Meeks I really understand how something like this can impact you emotionally. I agree with everyone else — don’t beat yourself up and thank you for having the guts to alert us. But I know that intellectually understanding that you are not the only one is different to emotional understanding.
    I have just done a little investigation. I am sure that you have too, but a reminder that the government site scamwatch.gov.au might have some information to help you out. Or at least allow you to report it. Also the telecommunications ombudsman may be of some help too, maybe to get more back than the provider is giving?
    http://www.tio.com.au
    Your day can on,y get better πŸ™‚

    Like

    • acflory

      -hugs- Thanks Anne, for the kind words and the links. I hadn’t thought of taking it any further but now I’m going to at least see what’s what. Unfortunately I can’t remember exactly how this all started so I can’t prove I didn’t authorize anything.

      I am feeling a bit better about it though. It’s been many decades since I was anywhere near a confessional but… once a Catholic always a Catholic? lol

      Like

      • anne54

        The Blogging World as Confessional ~ I love it!
        It seems to me that if you can’t remember authorising it then it must have been done in a very sneaky fashion on their part. I am sure you have remembered agreeing to a deal that was so outrageous. I would hope that a government scam watch would be able to help out in some way.

        Like

  • EllaDee

    You are very kind to be sharing the lemonade you made out of this lemon… it happens. I know I have had a near miss, looking for a ring tone for the G.O. and then thinking uh-oh that doesn’t look right, and immediately contacting Telstra as it was quite confusing as to if I’d subscribed or not (fortunately not).
    I’m think one of the big lessons is to cast an eye over statements & bills. I’m pleased the provider has been able to provide some balm in the form of refunds.

    Like

  • Honie Briggs

    Meeks! So sorry to hear this has happened. Also grateful you are kind enough to share so readers will know what to do if such a thing should happen to us. Thanks!

    Like

  • dvberkom

    What Chris said. Anyone can get caught up in this kind of thing. Thank you for the heads up πŸ™‚

    Like

  • chrisjames282

    Yuk, Meeks, just yuk. Two things: First, thank you thank you thank you for having the balls to post this and give us, your readers, a heads-up. Second, please, please please don’t beat yourself up. Everyone can get caught in something like this, it only needs the right [wrong] combination: a bad day at work, being tired, and feeling really depressed because I haven’t sold a copy of anything for over six months (er….) – anyway, the point is that you may have got caned here, but by talking about it you’re helping your readers, and with a bit of luck you’ll get something back if you make enough fuss with your provider.
    Wishing you more and more rain till the end of the summer *hugs*

    Like

  • davidprosser

    Since it wasn’t made clear to you that you were takling part in a premium rate service it may be possible to get your money back. It might mean asking your phone carrier to check this but they won’t do it unless you ask generally.
    I witter on endlessly about scams but have never covered one like this because it’s never bothered me..But, I never do competitions on the phone, and if I do them online I only complete them if I don’t have to provide a mobile phone number. I reckon an email address is enough for contact if I win and don’t want endless adverts and pone calls if my number is sold on.
    I hope you manage to get something back from this but the firm should be reported to whoever deals with Telecom complaints in Oz as this is plainly fraud.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Like

    • acflory

      I know -hangs head in shame- I never enter competitions because I simply don’t have ‘luck’. But this one time I must have thought ‘oh go on, give it a go.’ And of course with my luck I not only did not win, it has ended up costing me quite a bit of money.

      The phone service provider has offered to refund me the last two months worth of these scam texts but…I don’t even want to think about how long this has been going on.

      This just confirms everything I already knew…and ignored. Can’t tell you how bad I feel.

      Like

  • laurieboris

    Feh! That stinks. I’m so sorry.

    Like

  • Candy Korman

    That’s terrible!
    Don’t beat yourself up too badly. We all fall prey to scams of one kind or another. Is it possible to get the mobile phone carrier to reverse all, or some, of the charges? Their service was used to bilk money from you so… At least try.

    Like

  • Carrie Rubin

    What a shame. Sorry to hear it. Just goes to show how easy it is to fall prey to these scams. 😦

    Like

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Oh dear. That relly sucks. I’ll bet it was one of those “win an i-pad” things. I’ve had them, too, begun to put my info in, then shaken some sense into myself when I remembered hearing something about those. I’m sorry you got caught.

    Like

    • acflory

      I think it was exactly that – the iPad scam. I know I wanted one so I could teach students how to use it. I should have just gone out and paid for one. Never, ever, again. 😦

      Like

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