Thousands of mobile phone customers hit by scam
Over one hundred thousand mobile phone customers are being sent premium rate text messages they have never asked for, and charged £4.50 a time.
In the past two years mobile phone regulator PhonepayPlus have received 7,462 complaints from customers who say they have been getting the texts advertising gaming services, glamour videos or pornography. Many of these messages don’t make the recipient aware they are being charged, or how to opt out.
One man, a retired Vicar from the Outer Hebrides, was billed £200 for unsolicited messages despite rarely using his mobile, The Daily Mail reports. He was charged for text messages received from a five digit number offering a ‘TextPlayWin’ service – one that he never intentionally subscribed to. Despite this his phone provider, Vodafone, are refusing to reimburse him as the services are legitimate, and that he must have signed up without realising. PhonePayPlus did however find the company behind the messages guilty of misleading customers and ordered them to pay a fine of £20,000 and to offer refunds.
Since 2014 the regulator has banned 25 companies from operating in this way but there are plenty out there still doing it, so phone providers advise customers to always check their phone bill and investigate any unusual or unexpected charges immediately.
If you receive texts offering these kinds of services don’t ignore them – usually they will have something at the end of them telling you how to unsubscribe – so make sure you do this straight away to avoid any further charges. If they don’t contain this information then they are in breach of regulations and you should report them immediately to your phone provider or direct to PhonePayPlus.
Be careful and always check everything you’re being charged for, and don’t give out your mobile phone number unless it’s to a company that you can trust and that makes it very clear what and how often you will be charged.
Have you had a bad experience with unwanted or unexpected texts costing you money? Let me know in the comments section below or on the Facebook page.
You can read what your rights are when it comes to unexpected charges on your mobile phone bill or suspected text scams here.