Protect your mobile phone from text and call scams, says industry

Consumers are warned to be wary of SMS and MMS messages and calls on their mobile phones from unrecognized numbers because they could be scams.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), the peak industry body representing the mobile telecommunications industry in Australia, has issued a guide to help people protect their mobile phones from scams.

The guide coincides with Fraud Fortnight, the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce’s two-week consumer awareness initiative.

AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said consumers should be careful before replying to unusual text messages from numbers they did not recognize.

“Be sure to check the number before replying, particularly if all you can see is a name. If the number begins with ‘19’ it is a premium rate service and you are likely to be charged at a higher rate for a text or call,” he said.

“You may be charged for future text messages that you receive as well as messages you send.

“If you don’t think you subscribed to the service, it could be a scam.”

Mr Althaus said consumers could check with their mobile phone carrier to find out if it offers a service allowing them to check a number to find out which company sent the text message.

He said legitimate commercial messages from Australian businesses are required by law to include such information as:

The name of the organization or individual who sent the message

Contact details

A way of opting out.

“If you receive a SMS or MMS message offering products or services that do not include these items, it could be a scam,” Mr Althaus said.

“Also, be wary of so-called ‘free’ offer. Are they really free or are you paying for them elsewhere? If you read the words ‘T& Cs apply’ of ‘conditions apply’ find out what they are because the offer may not be so tempting when you consider all the terms and conditions.”

To view AMTA’s guide to help protect your mobile phone from scams see Consumer tips at www.amta.org.au

For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, (02) 62396555 or 0421 240 550