Recently, those seeking to make a quick and sneaky buck from the unsuspecting consumer have found a fresh avenue for their scamming: text messaging. If you are one of the approximately 85% of Americans who own and use a cell phone, and one of the many cell phone users who practices the art of text messaging, you may have fallen prey to a text-messaging bill that you did not intend to incur.
Here’s how it works. You are navigating your favorite website when you notice a link to take an IQ test or a match-making survey or a fortune-telling website. You click on the link to the website and take two minutes of your time to fill out the survey or questionnaire. At the end, you are asked to enter you cell phone number, so that the results of your IQ quiz, the name of your secret admirer, or your astrological destiny can be sent via text message directly to your phone. What you did not realize is that by entering your cell phone number, you have agreed to start an automatically renewing monthly subscription to receive a similar text message every month. You also did not realize that the cost of this subscription is $9.99 per month – yes, you paid $10 for one text message – and that the charge will show up directly on your cell phone bill. That’s right: the sneaky website you just used has a contract with your cell phone carrier to bill you directly, as if you were charged for some service from your carrier. And since you check your cell phone bill about as closely as every other American who has a cell phone bill – in other words, not closely at all – you assume the $10 bump was due to some extra text messages or some 411 calls from the prior month. You thought online billing and purchases were always accompanied by an entry area for your debit or credit card and a “confirm” or “accept” button. You were wrong. You triggered the billing simply by entering your cell phone number.
These are a few examples of websites that may have caught you in their net: http://www.myiqquiz.com, http://www.yourcrushrevealed.com, http://www.swamipredicts.net. These websites, among others, are owned and run by a company called National Telephone Advisory, and there are other companies and websites that engage in the same or similar tactics.
If you used one of these websites, or a website like it, and you were signed up for a monthly charge that you did not find out about until after you paid it once or twice, call us at (610) 941-4204 or visit our website at http://www.pbmattorneys.com. We are committed to protecting consumers like you from schemes like this, and we want to know your story. You have rights, and you may have grounds for a lawsuit.