It’s strange, but this post on Love Calculator that I wrote months ago consistently gets a few views every day. It even seems to be growing.
It seems that our scamming friends are wandering the world. Just this week there have been a comment from the UK (a 14 year old girl) and a ‘contact me’ from Canada (a guy) from folk asking how to be removed. So I thought I’d dig in a little, find out more about these expensive love calculators and determine how to remove yourself from their services.
Meanwhile Google ads for these calculators are well in swing over here in Australia – Google, you are not doing yourselves any favours by taking money from people that scam 14 year old girls..
But first – not only are the lover calculators geographically spread, they also vary in look. The original look and feel (well when they started their dodgy NZ Google ads) was this:
Which has now turned into this, which is actually a big usability improvement for the primary goal of delivering expensive TXTs:
That purple bit is the T&C’s sentence stating how much this will charge your cell phone, and was emphasised no doubt because of the ASA finding. Purple on blue is better, I suppose, than blue on blue. White on blue would have been better.
You can also find this look in Canada (and elsewhere) – where about half of the text below the fold is highlighted, but the amount they charge you is lost in all the boldness and blue on blueness.
Here’s one from the USA. It’s a different look, but the same old scam:
and there is also this other look – this one from Australia
These looks are, I guess, constantly updated and are, I know, available at a mixture of domain names. I can’t find the UK offering.
So – below the fold is what I found – how much you get hit for and how to remove yourself by country. The worst is Australia, where you get whacked for $26.60 straight away.
I’m not linking to these sites as I refuse to give them the Google juice
<update – check the comments – all the number’s you need are there>
<update 2 – more sites that can help. These scammers change their operating names all the time>
Rip Off Report (one person’s saga – solved)
Class Action Connect – for those that want revenge. Get enough sotries and some lawyers may take interest. Personally I think this is an easy win for a US based class action suit, but it is really hard to hit them across all jurisdictions.
A planetfeedback complaint about tones4us.com. It seems the company also has a long line in ringtones.
A Wired blog entry about the Secret Crush Facebook application that installs spyware. Stay away! My Luv Crush is also mentioned, as is owners of all this – Mobile Messenger.
A blog entry by DragonTail about the Love Soul Mate scam.
A series of comments about 1-800-416-6129
Gadget Inspector warns not to sign your friends up to these as a joke.
HitUSA.com warns about Got Spring Crush/gotspringcrush.com, ugotacrush.com and ugotcrushedon.com.
Juha wrote about this in NZ back in March 2007, then again in Feb 2008.
Zhenya Tsvetnenko’s the guy behind it all – he’s a Russian expat that has made a fortune.
Here are sites that I’ve seen, along with stop codes. In all cases simply google the stop code, or if you know the site go there, read the fine print (you may need to highlight it to make it readable) and send STOP to the number shown. You can also go to mobilemessenger.com and call the customer help numbers on their site. Demand your money back.
http://www.thelovecalculator.com.au/ ($5 + $5 x 2/week + 5/month)
au.quickiqquiz.com (an IQ test – if you signed up then you failed sorry)
How much? : $6.60 x 4 = $26.40 + $12.20 per week.
To Stop: text STOP to short code 19900107 or 19937339 or 19796977 or 19991888 or 19990777 or 19900091 or 19719760
or 19719760 for truluvcrush
How much? : $1.25 per weekday
Terms are at http://crushcalculator.com/terms.html which is not found.
To Stop: text STOP to short code 33777
How much? : $20 then $10 per week
To Stop: text STOP to 2228
Different look and feel. Same scam.
How much? : $5.99 per week or $19.99 per month (depending on carrier)
To Stop: text STOP to short code 75557 or 98651
http://www.crushcalculator.co.za, leads off to the above sites. There are probable South African versions.