Mobiles industry supports National Consumer Fraud Week to guard against scammers

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), as part of National Consumer Fraud Week, has tips for people signing-up for l9 SMS premium services to beware of being tricked by scams.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Chris Althaus, said the industry was pleased to play its part in the National Consumer Fraud Week March 2-8, 2009.

The campaign seeks to increase public awareness of scams and educate consumers about scams so they can take steps to protect themselves from scammers.

Mr Althaus said AMTA’s aim, on behalf of the industry, was to promote the safe, responsible and affordable use of mobile telecommunications in the community.

“The vast majority of 19 SMS mobile premium services are legitimate and provide consumers with a range of services, such as news, sport and weather, music video clips, and HSC results,” he said. “However, there are some shonky operators, who try to take advantage of consumers by hoodwinking them in to signing up to fraudulent services.”

Mr Althaus said steps for consumers to protect themselves are:

  • Check all SMS or MMS messages you receive offering products or services include the name of the organisation or individual who sent the message, contact details and a way of opting out. Commercial messages sent from Australian businesses are required by law to include this information – if they don’t it could be a scam.

  • To access a 19 SMS service you will be required to 'opt-in' when responding to an advertisement. The Opt-In model requires you to make a positive expression of consent before 19 SMS services are made available to you.

  • Be wary of free offers. If you receive an offer that is too good to be true – it probably is!

  • If you receive an unusual text message from a number you don’t recognise it could be a scam.

  • Text the word “STOP” for any service you don’t want that uses a ‘19’ number.

  • Always check your bill for any charges you did not authorise. Premium rate calls and subscription services should be included on your bill. Contact your mobile phone company if you have any questions.

For more information on scam and spam view AMTA’s consumer tips at www.amta.org.au

Media contact is Randal Markey, AMTA, (02) 62396555 or 0421 240 550