Won’t these scams please go away?

Another scam today, this time from SMSbargain.net.  I have no idea how I got there but somehow this page opened up in my browser (despite pop-ups being blocked). I’m pretty sure I was not on a New Zealand based site, but the ad is targeted towards NZ:

<update – I found this ad later on – which directs to the above>

I tried it out to see what would happen.

The timer and the question answers are, of course irrelevant. Take your time, select Bill Gates and eventually you’ll see this:

And no – I could not read the fine print – a least not without expanding the font a few times. Here’s a closer look. Suffice to say by signing up you commit to 3 x $3 texts per week.

But that’s not all. This is a particular “competition” drives customers to enter multiple texts to win. It seems the winners are those scoring the most points, and to score points you simply enter multiple times. Each entry, after the first 3, costs 20 cents. That doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable until you think about it. The winner of this competition is probably playing to 100 games per month maximum (at least they have a maximum), which costs $20. The bit I am not clear about is whether each game (“jumble”) requires multiple answers to be sent, which would start racking up those SMS costs.

Regardless. It’s clearly at least somewhat deceitful – given the tiny white on grey text, and it is clearly expensive. Stay away.

The only answer to these is education – as regulation seems to be failing.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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3 Responses to Won’t these scams please go away?

  1. Chris Hope says:

    I started getting these sorts of SMS messages to my mobile phone one day without even putting my mobile number into one of these sorts of scams (I never would either). It took a couple of attempts to get unsubscribed from it too and after an angry phone call to Vodafone they were refusing to accept any blame even though they take the $$ on behalf of the scammer. In the end I couldn’t be bothered arguing with VF over a few dollars and just gave up. However, I now refuse to give my mobile number out to anyone ever (other than friends and business associates of course).

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  2. Haunani Pao says:

    This just happened to me the other day, from a link on twitpics (I was putting things up of Barcamp 4)and they nicked at least $12 from me even as I was trying to stop the texts. Now I’m on a mad rush to follow them up and complain to them and VF to get my money back. Also putting in a note to NZ equivalent to Better Business Bureau and anyone else who will listen. Not feeling too foolish now. :)

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  3. Harvey says:

    These things are huge overseas and I’m so pleased we now have them in NZ. I clicked a Facebook ad and got suspicious when I saw they wanted my mobile number (having experienced an equivalent scam in Europe).
    I don’t understand why Vodafone allows these to operate – it’s a scam by any definition, and “supporting” it really doesn’t make them look good.

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