OFT In Scam Text Warning

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

The text message, sent out as part of Scams Awareness Month, reads: 'Urgent! U may have won £1k cash with 'A Good 2 B True'. The text is then 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.

The OFT estimates that around 6% of all scam victims are aged between 15 and 24, losing money to a variety of mass marketed scams each year.

According to the Mobile Data Association, 95% of 16-24-year-olds use text messaging regularly, each sending an average of 100 texts per month.

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."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 October 2012
One in Four People Prone To Using Text Words Instead Of 'Normal English'
A survey from SecurEnvoy has found that text phrases - such as C U L8r, LOL etc – have become so much part of our daily lives that one in four Brits claim they are Textlexic – prone to using text words instead of normal English.
04 May 2011
Light Aircraft Drug Smugglers Jailed
Three men who tried to smuggle drugs into the country have been jailed for a total of 42 years following a UK Border Agency investigation. The gang devised an elaborate plot involving a military airfield and coded text messages between smugglers on opposite sides of the English Channel. Cocaine with an estimated street value of £3.
15 October 2004
Text messages used to remind women to take their pill
A special daily text message scheme to remind girls already using oral contraceptive to take their pill has been launched in Birmingham today. South Birmingham Primary Care Trust’s teenage pregnancy service is aimed at girls aged 15 to women of 25 – who register for the reminder service.