Prevent Premium Messaging Scams on Your Cellular Devices

There are a lot of real scams, fake scams, and rumors of scams floating around the social media and BLOG world. I’m here to help you prevent one that is for real regarding your text-capable cellular telephone. It’s called the “Premium Messaging Service” scam, or “Premium Text Messaging” scam.

These services apparently have a few legitimate uses, so they come loaded by default with your cell phone plan. It doesn’t matter what carrier you have–AT&T, Verizon, Sprint…if your device either does or can get text messages, you’re signed up. I’m not even on a text plan and still was signed up!

A scientific colleague of mine (among many people) recently got hit with an expected $10 monthly charge on his cellular bill. Some shysters called Flycell began billing him $10/month for nothing, because he supposedly failed to respond “NO” to a text message asking him to subscribe. Other versions of this ripoff send you trivial text messages out of the blue and bill you (via your provider) for the so-called “service”. You don’t have to authorize this–it just happens out of nowhere! If you get such messages, a response might not work; in fact, it might trigger still more unwanted messages and charges. You have to work with the phone company.

This is the “premium messaging service” scam, and it’s especially insidious for folks on auto-payment programs who don’t pay enough attention to the specifics of their monthly charges. The fact that phone-company managers allow this is asinine–and causes their own billing departments countless man-hours in removing charges from the bills of the unsuspecting. Why they allow this crap to begin with is beyond me. Until phone-company managers decide to do something about having this “capability” on your plan by default, you’ll have to be proactive and cancel “premium messaging service” yourself.

To prevent it, call your carrier or use their website to deactivate “premium messaging service”. Here is more on Flycell from Mason Media…the scam in general from About.com.

Here is Verizon’s how-to page–it’s somewhat convoluted, so you may find it easier just to call them and speak to a human. Tell them to disable Premium Messaging Service on your line or plan. I spoke to a Verizon operator who took care of it for me in a very friendly and quick manner. She thanked me for demanding this action before anything happened, and mentioned that this has become rampant of late.



Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.