MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An alert has been issued by the Better Business Bureau about a new scam involving cell phone text messages.
It begins with good news or so the target thinks.
They get a text message on their phone which says they’ve won a $1,000 gift card from a major retailer. While it may sound too good to be true, may people have decided to check it out anyway. When they click on the link inside the text message, it leads to a legitimate-looking website with the colors and logo of the real company.
On the website is a form that prompts the user to “claim your prize” by entering their name, address and confirming their cell phone number. When they enter the number, they receive another another text message with a secret PIN. They then type the PIN into the form and hit submit.
The think the gift card is on the way – but its not.
The “winners” found themselves unknowingly signed up for $9.99 per month premium text messaging service. The scam, known as cramming, happens when a company uses their cell phone bill like a credit card, adding a charge for services that they never knowingly purchased. This scam is so prevalent that the Federal Trade Commission got involved and shut down six providers.
So what happens if you get a message like this. First off all delete it. If you are unsure if its a scam, then Ignore instructions to confirm your phone number or visit a link. Other scam text messages instruct you to text “STOP” or “NO” to prevent future texts. But this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
Check your phone bill each month for products and services you haven’t ordered. Some charges may appear only once, but others might be monthly “subscriptions.” Pay special attention to sections labeled “Miscellaneous,” and the “third-party” charge sections on your bill.
Also, ask your phone carrier about blocking third-party charges. Mobile phone carriers permit outside businesses to place charges on your phone bill, but many carriers also allow you to block these charges for free.
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