Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Yesterday morning I woke up to a text – a very strange text indeed!
It was a message from Alfie (I’ve never heard of him) from SexyChat (something else I’ve never heard of…honest!)
I was told if I wanted to read the SMS I should reply to the number given, or I could text back STOP if I didn’t want to keep receiving calls.
Obviously I didn’t, this is clearly a scam, but it got me thinking about phone scams and how some unsuspecting people could helplessly fall into them.
In fact, through no real fault of your own, you could be charged for a text from a scammer – I know, the cheek!
There are three kinds of texts that you need to be aware of:
Spam texts will usually be generic and won’t address you by name. They’ll simply be a text that you didn’t expect and didn’t want, usually from an eleven digit number.
If you think you’ve got a spam text under no circumstances reply – that’s exactly what the spammers want you to do!
Once you’ve replied they’ll know that you’re real and probably sell your number to marketing companies who will pester you repeatedly.
Sometimes they’ll even tell you to text back STOP if you don’t want to keep receiving the texts but, again, this is just another way of getting you to reply.
If you receive a spam text you can report it to your network provider – you just need to forward the text to 7726 and include the sender’s number.
Some texts, including the one I received, asked me to reply to receive my messages from SexyChat – lucky me!
If I had done I would probably have been charged an extortionate amount.
This scam works in a variety of ways, for example some texts will simply leave a number asking you to ring them back.
The number you ring will almost certainly be a premium rate number and will cost you a fortune.
Remember, never reply to any text unless you’re sure you know where it came from.
Premium messages are particularly nasty – they charge YOU to receive them.
This is illegal if you have not opted in to this service but increasingly people are agreeing to receiving premium messages without realising it.
Sometimes by signing up to a service or game on a mobile you are automatically opted in and, if you don’t un-tick the box, the company are legally within their right to charge you for texts.
Premium rate texts usually come from a four, five or six digit number and if you receive one you should put an end to it immediately – the cost of these texts can easily rack up!
Simply reply STOP or STOP ALL and the company should stop.
If the texts continue you can visit PayPhonePlus’s website and use their number checker to see which company the text is coming from so you can speak to them and stop it.
Like with all scams, always err on the side of caution – if something is telling you the text is fishy, you’re probably right!
Needless to say that Alfie, my text scam admirer, will have to look elsewhere!
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