Feeds

OFT sends out scam texts

And a 'hey look, that was fake' follow-up

The Power of One Infographic

The Office of Fair Trading has sent out thousands of fake scam text messages to 18-24 year-old mobile phone users to raise awareness about scams.

The text message, sent out on 15 February 2008 as part of Scams Awareness Month, reads: "Urgent! U may have won £1k cash with '2 Good 2 B True.'" It is followed shortly afterwards by a second text that makes clear that there is in fact no prize and that the message has been sent by the OFT to warn about scams.

The message also highlights SMSus, a new text message service launched by PhonePayPlus, the phone-paid service regulator. SMSus allows users to text details of a premium rate number or shortcode and receive an automatic reply with the cost of the number, details of the service provider, how to contact them and how to complain if necessary.

A spokesperson for the OFT told GC News that it targets the young people by using details provided by PhonePayPlus. The people had previously opted in to receive promotional messages and updates from the regulator.

The OFT estimates that about six per cent of all scam victims are aged between 15-24, losing money to a variety of mass-marketed scams each year.

Mike Haley, director of consumer protection at the OFT, said: "Young people can fall for exactly the same types of scam as anyone else, often delivered through the latest technology. We hope that our innovative approach of sending fake scam text messages will remind young consumers to be on their guard if they receive a suspicious offer."

Trays O'Reilly, director of standards and communications at PhonePayPlus said: "More and more people are using mobile phones to pay for a range of products and services and in most instances this happens without problems. Our job is to crack down on scams and other misbehaviour when it occurs so that everyone can use phone-paid services with confidence."

Scams Awareness Month is part of an annual international initiative organised by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network. The OFT is treating mass-marketed scams as a priority. In 2005 the OFT launched a Scambusters team and set up the Scams Enforcement Group with partner organisations focusing on law enforcement, consumer education, and disruption of scammers' routes to market.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles
Arrests people allegedly accessing child abuse images online
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.