Recently there have been reports of unwanted SMS (Short Message Service) texts showing up on cell phones, and the recipient being billed for them. Here’s one exactly as received:
From: 99716 TXTALTSNOW:You?ll receive Entertnmnt Alts.$9.99/mo billed to cell; 3 msg /wk. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel. Msg&Data rates may apply.
In one case the recipient didn’t reply, but filed them away. The Sprint bill arrived with 5 separate charges for $9.99ea. Sprint, when called, helpfully blocked the associated SMS numbers and cancelled the charges.
For ID purposes:
- Statements had different SMS addresses 60822, 55033, 36713 and 99716.
- These appear to originate from something named “Silicon Investments”.
A line item in the bill looked like this :
Digging afterwards at www.smswatchdog.com and running SMS text address 99716 through the system, it appeared from the consumer input that:
1. The SMS texts began in December and have continued into 2012.
2. Many people are getting hit
3. It’s happening to multiple carrier services (Sprint, AT&T, etc)
4. Replying STOP is a waste of keystrokes, you still get charged
5. Best way to combat it : Call your mobile service ASAP and dispute the charges.
Equipment affected: The cell phone does not have to be a Smart Phone. It simply must be able to receive texts.