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Major U.S. carriers put an end to premium text messages

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Major U.S. carriers put an end to premium text messages
Acknowledging that they had become instruments used to commit fraud  and rip off their customers, the four major U.S. carriers announced on Thursday that they will no longer charge for premium texts. These are text messages that charge the sender for sending the message and is one of a number of unauthorized third party services known as cramming.

Vermont's attorney general Bill Sorrell praised T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T for the move. While Verizon was not part of the Vermont announcement, it too is following the other carriers. It should be noted that this new policy will not affect premium text messages for charitable organizations while T-Mobile and Verizon will continue to allow them for political campaigns. Sprint has not yet commented on its plans. And in case you were worried, this also has nothing to do with texting votes to reality shows like American Idol, the X Factor or The Voice.

The premium texts are part of one of the most costly malware scams. In this fraud, malware infects a phone which causes it to send out premium texts to a number set up in advance by the crooks. So many people don't understand their cell bill that in many cases a premium text charge goes unchallenged by the consumer who just pays it. Not charging a customer for sending premium texts is a quick way to end this scam.

"While [premium text] has some benefits, like charitable giving, it is also a major contributor to the current mobile cramming problem. We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists. We’re hopeful the other carriers will soon follow their lead."-Bill Sorrell, Attorney General, Vermonth

"While we don’t agree with all of the attorney general’s allegations, we respect his efforts in this area. Verizon had previously decided to exit the premium messaging business because of these changes as well as recent allegations that third parties have engaged in improper conduct in providing premium messaging services to our customers. We are in the process of winding down our premium messaging business."-William Petersen, Verizon general counsel

source: AllThingsD

7 Comments
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posted on 21 Nov 2013, 18:50 5

1. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


Awesome news!

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 19:12 3

2. chack_fu (Posts: 46; Member since: 19 Jan 2009)


About 2 years to late. This is and always been a scam!

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 19:21 1

3. downphoenix (Posts: 2287; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


This is great, but I have issue with this statement

"The premium texts are part of one of the most costly malware scams. In this fraud, malware infects a phone which causes it to send out premium texts to a number set up in advance by the crooks. So many people don't understand their cell bill that in many cases a premium text charge goes unchallenged by the consumer who just pays it. Not charging a customer for sending premium texts is a quick way to end this scam."

It seems to be based on a lack of knowledge and an assumption that consumers pay attention to what they are doing. In my personal experience with dealing with these complaints, I'd say there is about a 1 in 20 chance that it could be there incorrectly, much less be a result of fraud. A lot of these premium services are misleading, but do follow their legal requirements necessary to give customers prior notice before signing up that they wwill be charged. A lot of people will blindly put their phone number in on a website or put their phone number on facebook then get a PMG from a facebook "app". Actual fraudulent ones are quite rare I can assure you.

posted on 22 Nov 2013, 10:51

5. V3TTOO (Posts: 27; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)


I think the scams they are talking about are the apps with malware from sideloaded apps or 3rd party markets, aka not the Google/Apple app stores.

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 20:51

4. corporateJP (Posts: 1548; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


More like five years too late.

Some of these carriers were in on this too, make no mistake about it. Probably why Verizon wasn't praised, they were deep in it...go dig a little, theres proof all over the internet.

posted on 22 Nov 2013, 16:38 1

6. mcshank (Posts: 47; Member since: 24 Apr 2013)


What Proof? I work for Sprint and Premium Messages are a problem that alot of people bring about themselves. There are free ones such as Bank alerts, red box, etc. Then there are charged ones that you can see almost anywhere. You see them on TV commercials like the old Jamster commercials or online where they want you to enter your phone number. Carriers dont make Crap from these, most of the times they lose money when they block them as they cant get refunded from the company that charged it. All it takes is for YOU to read your damn bill and call in or go into a store and ask questions. WTF do you think customer care is for? They help fix issues & answer questions.

posted on 24 Nov 2013, 14:58

7. W.P._Android_in_that_Order (Posts: 206; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


About time. Like it was said above, this has been such a huge scam and should have been stopped sooner.

I do like that they are still allowing charity giving though.

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