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Widespread Text Message Scam Warning

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Today I went to Morrisons and scanned a QR code to sign up for a Morrison's card. WIthin minutes I had text messages from a service called Alerts4u saying I would receive text alerts (??) at a cost of £1.50 each.
To cancel, I would have to text STOP to a number, which would also cost me £1.50. In the text message there was a link to a contract which I was now party to without my knowledge.
This company is so cheeky it has a website and is registered at Companies House. When I had a look on Trustpilot, there are  so many messages from people who were signed up by scanning QR codes for ITVX, a car park, a council app, Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Iceland.....I don't know out how they have done it....it seems to be done when you scan the QR code to download an app, but it sends you these messages instead.  So many people have been caught and some have lost hundreds because they didn't realise they had been signed up to it. Some people were paying £10 per text sent to them.
The company has been reported to Action Fraud (the police) many times but the website is still up and the scam still in operation. Remember, this is not a matter of being silly, or being persuaded to sign something you didn't want to, but is done *ENTIRELY WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE*. If you receive a text message from these people, don't ignore it. You must unsubscribe from the service to stop them from sending you texts at your expense. There will be a link to a contract in the text- it is safe to click on and gives a telephone number to unsubscribe/demand a refund/complain. This company is called SB7 Mobile Limited and the service is called Alerts4u, as is the website. The phone number for them is 02081253903.
I have reported it to Action Fraud but it seems they have been doing this for years and are still allowed to continue sadly.
I don't know if the companies who use the QR code system are aware of it, or if it is the particular QR code scanner I was using, unfortunately.
Take care if signing up using these QR code apps to download an app, even if it's a reputable company.


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Comments

  • km1500
    km1500 Posts: 2,393 Forumite
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    It is possible to paste your own qr code on top of a legitimate one eg Morrisons card.

    My advice is never to scan a qr code they are insecure
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,344 Ambassador
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    km1500 said:
    It is possible to paste your own qr code on top of a legitimate one eg Morrisons card.

    My advice is never to scan a qr code they are insecure
    QR codes are fine if you look at where they send you. I use a QR code daily via Inpost for parcel receipts, you point phone at QR code and it shows you the address it will take you to, nothing opens automatically on my iPhone , nothing is filled in for me I have to click on link to website, then again it shows the site I have landed on, then from there I fill in my details. I also use them a lot in restaurants where many insist on hiding their allergen menus behind a code. The process is exactly as above, I point my phone atQR code on main menu , confirm the website I’m being taken to and can check again when site has loaded. 


    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • Peter999_2
    Peter999_2 Posts: 1,001 Forumite
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    Soolin is completely correct, like she says, look at where it is sending you.

    It's so easy to create a QRcode, takes seconds.


  • oldagetraveller1
    oldagetraveller1 Posts: 1,276 Forumite
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    edited 9 April 2023 at 2:32PM
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    If what Soolin writes is correct and there's no reason to doubt it, that linked article has to be slightly incorrect?
    "and it directs you to a website automatically without you having to tap the details into your browser."
    I don't think there's ever been a time when a direct connection has happened, there's always been a website link, i.e. no automatic direct, whenever I have scanned a code. I do use the camera on my phone (Android) rather than a dedicated app from Playstore.
    Risking Peter's code, scanning reveals a website link .....scamyou.co.uk, not an automatic direct.
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 72,344 Ambassador
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    Soolin is completely correct, like she says, look at where it is sending you.

    It's so easy to create a QRcode, takes seconds.


    I’m not techie at all but when I point my camera at that it tells me it is a link to ‘iamgoingtoscamyou.co.Uk . It does not automatically direct me anywhere.

    I tried a local menu as it was all I could find lying around, and again it has said the name of the takeaway and to access the site I have to click on the site name that comes up when I scan the QR code. 
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com.All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • glennevis
    glennevis Posts: 654 Forumite
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    If what Soolin writes is correct and there's no reason to doubt it, that linked article has to be slightly incorrect?

    Shock horror, a journalist gets it wrong.
    Wouldn't be the first time.

    Agree with soolin.
  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 32,049 Forumite
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    soolin said:
    Soolin is completely correct, like she says, look at where it is sending you.

    It's so easy to create a QRcode, takes seconds.


    I’m not techie at all but when I point my camera at that it tells me it is a link to ‘iamgoingtoscamyou.co.Uk . It does not automatically direct me anywhere.

    I tried a local menu as it was all I could find lying around, and again it has said the name of the takeaway and to access the site I have to click on the site name that comes up when I scan the QR code. 
    Yep, I have to press the link to go there.  And if I press the 3 dots beside the address it comes up with the full address including /youwilllosealotofyourmoney.
    You really have to make an effort to go to the scam site unless of course you go round blindly pressing anything that pops up.

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