US carriers band together to end premium SMS reign of scams

November 21, 2013
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Some major US carriers, which include AT&T and T-Mobile, today announced their commitment to stop scammers in their tracks who utilize their networks' premium SMS services for less than honorable purposes. Though it will take some time to fully implement, this is the first step in ending scams that have robbed customers of varying amounts of money in the past years, some reaching even $10 a month.

The official statement came from the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Vermont. Attorney General William Sorrell has taken up the cause and was able to rally 44 other states, as well as some of the country's top wireless companies, to join in the effort. These scam messages make use the company's premium SMS setup, which allow users to be charged a monthly fee in exchange for some service like daily quotes, jokes, trivia or what have you. While the system does have legitimate benefits, it has lately grown more into a scammer's tool, deceiving users into subscribing to services or revealing personal details. In some cases, users are automatically subscribed, and therefore billed, without their knowledge and sometimes with now option to cease the service.

AT&T has announced that it will be terminating its premium SMS billing and T-Mobile said likewise. Verizon, strangely, did not join in the chorus but struck off on its own. In a press statement, Big Red revealed that it did not agree with all of the Attorney General's positions but it has also been waging its own war against scams propagated via premium SMS. It claims that it has, in the past, even taken legal actions against questionable and malicious entities involved. To make a long story short, Verizon says that it has already been in the process of going away from a premium SMS business.

It will take a few days and maybe even weeks before subscribers feel the effects, if any, of this new policy. However, premium SMS services will not be totally going away. All carriers involved, and, yes, even Verizon, will still be keeping it around for charitable purposes and political contributions.

VIA: The Verge


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