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  • FIRST POST
    • chaupt
    • By chaupt 30th Jun 16, 5:17 PM
    • 10Posts
    • 3Thanks
    chaupt
    Premium SMS Fraud
    • #1
    • 30th Jun 16, 5:17 PM
    Premium SMS Fraud 30th Jun 16 at 5:17 PM
    Hi,

    I seem to have experienced Premium SMS fraud and would be interested to know if anyone else has faced a similar issue?

    It appears that one or more players in the Premium Rate Services Industry has hit upon the idea of sending very small charge premium rate text messages to 1000's of randomly generated UK mobile phone numbers claiming that the message is free and relying on consumers to either not notice or to be prevented from resolving the issue by the frustration of trying to do anything about it.

    I am exceptionally careful with my personal information, have never used a premium service and have opted out of direct marketing to my mobile number on the telephone preference service. I have also let my phone operator (EE) know that I do not want to receive any calls or text messages that are not directly related to my account with them and would like a block on all premium services to my phone. They have confirmed to me that they have done everything that they are legally obliged to do and are not willing to do anything further. I do not believe there is any other protection currently available to me today that I have not used.

    Despite all of this I was the recipient of one such message and have
    now spent over five hours trying to file a complaint and get the charge removed. I have spent hours on hold, been accused both implicitly and explicitly of lying about subscribing to a service, been told by the operator and regulator (PhonepayPlus) that I had to directly contact the people who had defrauded me, who I had never dealt with before and who I had to get a name and contact details for, before they would even consider recording a complaint. I know of no other situation where a victim of a crime is told that they have to confront the suspect themselves before anything will be done. It was only when I mentioned to PhonepayPlus that I would be left with no other option than to wrote to my MP that they agreed to open a case.

    The day after raising a complaint with the originator of the premium number and the regulator I received another premium rate text at 4am, I find it highly unlikely that this, only the second premium rate number I have ever received arrives at such an anti-social hour the day after I complained.

    I am prepared to put time and effort into investigating this further and any additional information would help. Given that the industry appears to deliberately create and switch between multiple company names, short codes and messages to obscure who they are it is difficult to pin them down but this is what I do know:

    Message 1 from 88311 - Free Message: Reply WIN to 88311 to complete your entry to win the new iPad. Please ignore if not requested

    Message 2 from 82288 - Reply SHOP to 82288 to confirm your entry to the Shopping Voucher Prize Draw. Please ignore if not requested.

    The company for both is apparently Remote Games who you can call on 0333 20 26 342 however when you call them they claim to be 727 Games.

    I would appreciate any other stories and suggestions on how to deal with this and, if it is as a big an issue as I suspect how to consolidate the information in one place.
Page 2
    • Jimbo0103
    • By Jimbo0103 7th Jul 16, 3:33 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Jimbo0103
    I spoke to PhonepayPlus who could not have been more unhelpful. Because I have not been charged yet they are not interested in offering any help. They said if I am charged when I top up I can contact them and they will help me. However after seeing the reply sent above I do not think they will help me at all.

    Virgin Media claim they cannot block shot code messages.
    • olly300
    • By olly300 10th Aug 16, 12:13 PM
    • 14,314 Posts
    • 13,632 Thanks
    olly300
    I found this thread via Google and contacted BMCM Digital Ltd. They claimed that the retailers including Tesco gave them permission to text people.

    As I knew this was a complete lie for a few reasons, later that day I emailed Tesco giving them BMCM Digital Ltd's name and contact details. Tesco have emailed back indicating their displeasure.

    So it is probably worth everyone who is spammed and/or ripped off, contacting Tesco and any other large retailer whose name is being used in these texts with the contact details of the spammers plus anything the spammers claim on the phone call.

    This is because large companies have the legal clout to prevent their name being used by smaller companies, and will take action if enough people complain as they want to protect their brand from reputational damage.

    BTW I've also complained to the Information Commissioner and my network operator. However the spammers keep changing the number they are using.
    I'm not cynical I'm realistic

    (If a link I give opens pop ups I won't know I don't use windows)
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 12th Aug 16, 2:26 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    brianposter
    It seems to me that a different approach to the problem might have more chance of general success.

    While the operator may have little choice about delivering the message itself, charging for the message and delivering money to the originator of the fraudulent messages (once the operator knows they are deceitful) surely constitutes participating in the fraud.

    To my mind any action should involve the police, or at a minimum, Action Fraud, and any phone operator that passes on the relevant charges should be at risk of prosecution.
    • JamesIan
    • By JamesIan 7th Oct 17, 4:13 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JamesIan
    They are still doing it
    Hi,
    I have been hit with a charge by this bunch of potential crooks.
    They sent me two text messages and it seems to relate to Remote Games Ltd.

    Msg 1
    FreeMsg: Thank you for subscribing to FunnyVideos for £4.50 every week from Remote Games Ltd until you text STOP to 83463. HELP? 03300535843
    Msg 2
    FreeMsg: Get your Funny Videos here (Link removed).

    I did not give my informed consent to charge but they did!
    I rang them up on the land line and they told me that they could make a refund but if I emailed helpmanager@careformobile.com they would generate a refund. I also spoke to Three and they said they would speak to the operator. They did and basically told me similar story.

    Wapstar do not have a website but interesting is that a search for the email address above yields a range of complaints against this organisation.

    Has anyone managed to get a refund?
    Who has been successful at taking them to court?

    Lots of useful info in this listing. Thanks!
    James
    • andy9000
    • By andy9000 9th Oct 17, 4:30 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    andy9000
    JamesIan, I had the same texts as you. In fact it came three times (once per week), so I ended up paying £13.50 (it was my daughter's phone, so I wasn't initially aware of the problem!).
    According to the Companies House website, 'Remote Games Limited' is still active, and their address is 83 Ducie Street, Manchester, M1 2JQ.
    I might try good old fashioned letter writing to seek a refund.
    • JamesIan
    • By JamesIan 9th Oct 17, 9:07 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JamesIan
    Thanks for the response. I emailed the address given and got this response. I have requested details on my confirmation which of course they dont have.

    Using the psauthority number-checker the service highlights a number of organisations using the same code.

    First email from Jordan Green (helpmanager at careformobile.com)

    In response to your recent inquiry regards mobile services and charges.
    I can confirm the service has been stopped and you will no longer receive any more charges for this service. With regards to your refund request, I can advise you that I have approved a discretionary refund. Within the first four weeks the service we would have sent you two SMS messages advising you of the costs and how to stop. The costs were also clearly displayed on the website which you would have engaged with to initially join. The service that was joined is compliant with necessary regulations. Your refund will be issued by text to the mobile number provided within 20 working days. This text refund must be presented to a Post Office within 30 days of receipt to be redeemed.

    Kind regards,
    ==========================
    77 Games Management Team
    Customer Care



    The following organisations use the same code.
    Search for the email address and it throws up one site with terms and conditions.
    All very shady. Such a pity these people are so difficult to stop.

    Check a Number - Result The PSA has the following information about shortcode number:83463

    Customer care number : 0333 003 0599
    Customer care email : (customer.service at tap2bill.com)
    Customer care website : Tap2Bill Limited has not provided this information
    Search result provided by : Tap2Bill Limited
    Service connected on:26 May 2016
    Service terminated onhis service is still operating
    Name of service:PayforIt Product Free to User Shortcode
    Type of serviceap2Bill Limited has not provided this information
    Service description: Shortcode used for sending free reminder messages and consumers to text STOP to.How much does this service cost? zero
    If you would like to find out more about this service or have a question about it, then you should contact the service provider: Tap2Bill Limited
    Tap2Bill Limited
    Tempus Court
    Bellfield Road
    HIGH WYCOMBE
    HP13 5HA
    United Kingdom
    If you are unsatisfied with the outcome from the service provider, please get in touch with us here.
    Is this the correct result?
    If not try other information about 83463 provided by these providers:
    Tap2Bill Limited
    Service name: PayforIt Product Free to User Shortcode
    Service Type: Unknown
    Service started on: 26 May 2016
    Service ended on: Active
    Remote Games Ltd
    Service name: TheWinme
    Service Type: Competition - non-scratchcard
    Service started on: 04 October 2017
    Service ended on: Active
    Davos Media S.L
    Service name: SeeSnaps
    Service Type: Entertainment - adult
    Service started on: 22 June 2017
    Service ended on: Active
    TEKKA DIGITAL SA
    Service name: Fun Mobile
    Service Type: Entertainment - non-adult
    Service started on: 05 April 2017
    Service ended on: Active
    Last edited by JamesIan; 09-10-2017 at 9:10 PM.
    • Kernel Sanders
    • By Kernel Sanders 10th Oct 17, 9:41 PM
    • 3,193 Posts
    • 1,317 Thanks
    Kernel Sanders
    If I am to be charged for each of the 17 messages it comes to quite a large total. The phone is old and is not Android and internet has never been used on it.
    Originally posted by Jimbo0103
    If that is so then why aren't you complaining to your provider about charging for receipt of texts?
    • andy9000
    • By andy9000 11th Oct 17, 8:35 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    andy9000
    Your refund will be issued by text to the mobile number provided within 20 working days. This text refund must be presented to a Post Office within 30 days of receipt to be redeemed.
    Originally posted by JamesIan
    How does that work? I can't imagine showing a text in my local Post Office and getting some money...
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 11th Oct 17, 10:06 AM
    • 7,711 Posts
    • 5,572 Thanks
    pmduk
    How does that work? I can't imagine showing a text in my local Post Office and getting some money...
    Originally posted by andy9000
    The code on the text is unique and relates to a one-off specific refund amount. (similar to natwest's emergency cash system)
    One of the phone recyclers paid me this way once.
    Last edited by pmduk; 11-10-2017 at 10:08 AM.
    • Connor1981
    • By Connor1981 28th Oct 17, 12:24 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Connor1981
    Payments from short numbers
    My wife's phone got a message sent through from remote games for £4.50 for funny videos we txt stop to cancel this but few days later another came through so we phoned the company and they apologised and seen she hadn't subscribed to this and this would stop and we would get refund. Now 8 payments later and constant contact with them this is no closer to resolution o2 don't want nothing to do with it action fraud are looking into this. Payments are now increasing to 3 a week any ideas on how to stop this nonsense once and for all 😩
    • Colin_Maybe
    • By Colin_Maybe 28th Oct 17, 12:43 PM
    • 1,381 Posts
    • 589 Thanks
    Colin_Maybe
    My wife's phone got a message sent through from remote games for £4.50 for funny videos we txt stop to cancel this but few days later another came through so we phoned the company and they apologised and seen she hadn't subscribed to this and this would stop and we would get refund. Now 8 payments later and constant contact with them this is no closer to resolution o2 don't want nothing to do with it action fraud are looking into this. Payments are now increasing to 3 a week any ideas on how to stop this nonsense once and for all 😩
    Originally posted by Connor1981
    Put a spending cap on your account if possible, that'll stop any further payments.
    • JamesIan
    • By JamesIan 29th Oct 17, 10:58 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JamesIan
    Still being ripped off!
    I got a message telling me the service had stopped and the next day two messages telling me I was being charged! I rang my provider who rang the service number listed and was told it was a fault and I would get a refund 7 days later!! I was also told to email helpmanager at careformobile dot com and ask for a refund, yet nothing. Very tempted to get another SIM and migrate across - what a total pain that will be.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 29th Oct 17, 11:20 AM
    • 1,885 Posts
    • 1,062 Thanks
    Ian011
    Changing your SIM or changing your mobile provider will have no effect as it is your phone number that is the key element.

    On receipt of an unwanted chargeable message from a mobile shortcode it is vital to reply with STOP to end the subscription.
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 29th Oct 17, 11:55 AM
    • 7,711 Posts
    • 5,572 Thanks
    pmduk
    Put a spending cap on your account if possible, that'll stop any further payments.
    Originally posted by Colin_Maybe
    Not necessarily, a spending cap applies to your spending with the network. The network has no control over your spending with third parties which, legally, is what these premium texts are.
    Last edited by pmduk; 30-10-2017 at 4:24 PM. Reason: typos
    • JamesIan
    • By JamesIan 30th Oct 17, 12:53 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JamesIan
    Changing SIM or Phone number
    Agreed, the only solution is changing the phone number. That is till they "get hold of it" then it will start all over again.

    There seems to be little to stop these people till the Mobile phone providers do something about it to stop them. Not sure even the new GDPR will help.
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 30th Oct 17, 4:26 PM
    • 7,711 Posts
    • 5,572 Thanks
    pmduk

    There seems to be little to stop these people till the Mobile phone providers do something about it to stop them. Not sure even the new GDPR will help.
    Originally posted by JamesIan
    There's not a lot they can do. It needs Government or Ofcom action.
    • paulmu
    • By paulmu 31st Oct 17, 8:46 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    paulmu
    Remote Games Ltd Scammers
    Remote Games Ltd seem to have found some way to harvest peoples phone numbers and sign them up to their premium rate text service. My wife was a victim of this scam.
    Remote Games Ltd was fined £70,000 together with £15,000 costs, in February 2015, so they ‘have form’.
    https://psauthority.org.uk/for-business/adjudications/2015/2/remote-games-ltd-18639-adjudication-by-consent-adaf414e-59a1-e411-a529-00155d051116
    This time it looks as though they have found some way to take advantage of the ‘auto-play video’ feature that has recently been introduced on the Facebook App. This means that videos are automatically opened as you scroll through. One phone call I had with Remote Games Ltd suggested that they had taken the opening of a video as consent to make charges. I suggest that you turn this feature off in the settings until we understand how this scam worked.
    My wife sent the STOP text to 83463 within 6 hours of receiving the original subscription message. This was on the evening of Friday 27th October. No charges appeared on the account and we assumed that none had been made. However, today, 31st October 2017 a charge of £4.50 has been made to the account.
    A large number of other consumers have been caught up in this scam. On GiffGaff ( my own network) there are the following threads in the forum, all started within the last couple of weeks.
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/Remote-Games-Ltd-Scam-at-4-50-a-time-Not-Happy/m-p/21004437
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/Help-with-message-83463/m-p/21005519
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/Receiving-unwanted-premium-texts/m-p/21019874
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/Received-Payforit-Charge-text-without-any-purchase/m-p/21009550
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/PayForIT-Charge/m-p/21002064
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/HELP-I-am-being-scammed/m-p/21024797
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Help-Support/I-have-been-fraud/m-p/21043153#M7702173
    I have summarised our existing knowledge and advice here, including some background and relevant Phone numbers and addresses:
    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/General-Discussion/Remote-Games-FunnyVideos-PayForIT-scams-using-short-text-number/td-p/21046927
    Please complain to the regulator, even if you have not suffered financial loss. It is simply unacceptable that a system exists where these rogue companies can take money from your account without clear consent. I propose to write to my MP concerning these scams. We need a scheme more in line with the direct debit scheme where it is easy to challenge and reverse unauthorised debits. We also need a regulator which is not in the pocket of the scammers.
    • paulmu
    • By paulmu 9th Nov 17, 7:06 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    paulmu
    I am really angry about the way that scammers can just take money from your phone account. The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) appears unable to control the industry and the number of complaints has rocketed in the past month.
    I think an opportunity now exists to clean up this rotten system if pressure can be brought to bear. One of the problems is that PSA don't listen to consumers complaints.
    PSA have a free seminar on the afternoon of 29th November in London, aimed at explaining their enforcement procedures to companies involved in the industry.

    https://psauthority.org.uk/news-and-events/events/2017/november/insights-into-psa-regulation-investigations-and-enforcement
    I think it's time to bring some pressure to bear on these clowns. I have signed up to attend and plan to ask some difficult questions! Anyone care to join me?
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 9th Nov 17, 7:43 PM
    • 7,711 Posts
    • 5,572 Thanks
    pmduk
    The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) appears unable to control the industry...
    Originally posted by paulmu
    You ought to bear in mind the PSA is the latest incarnation of a trade body called ICSTIS, which itself was set up by the "premium services industry" to regulate itself. Ofcom, never an organisation to get it's hands dirty by doing much, has chosen to delegate regulation for this sector to this body rather than do anything itself.

    That said, when I was working for a mobile network, most of the cases I investigated, showed that many of these companies make great efforts to stick by the rules.
    Last edited by pmduk; 10-11-2017 at 8:05 AM. Reason: typo
    • Londonlisa12
    • By Londonlisa12 12th Nov 17, 1:43 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Londonlisa12
    Had a similar problem a couple of years back phonepayplus could not have been more unhelpful.I really got the impression they did not care a toss.
    Three.com my then provider eere exactly the same luckily I was towards the end of my contract and left solely be ause of this experiene.
    The mobile networks in general do not do anything about the scamming since they get a large chunk of the money made by the scammers.
    They try to distance themselves but at the same time willing to collect all tne cadh generated by the thieves.
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