Saturday, November 3, 2007

Beware of Celldorado Mobile Scam


celldorado

First SMS: "Have fun with your tone! Remember, you will receive your FREE Bonus tone tomorrow. Turn your mobile into a radar!! Text Radar to 191198. Do It Now!!"

The truth is I didn't really receive any ringtone from Celldorado so far, but luckily I did skip the "radar" step. Else, they would have charged me more than they're charging me now!!!

Second SMS: "FreeMsg. Fill in this pin XXXXX or just text OK to get your item and join. You will also get a FREE BONUSTONE. Info? Call 1800182174 for help au.celldorado.com"

So, I entered the given pin numbers to the website and clicked on the "verify" button without knowing the exact meaning of this text message. The word, "JOIN" MEANS START CHARGING YOU FOR NOTHING!!!

Third SMS: "Free msg: *WELCOME*! you're subscribed to realtone service! Info: au.celldorado.com Call 1800182174. ($4/msg) unsubscribe? text STOP WREAL17 to 194224. (max 6msg/week)"

Again, the information provided in this SMS is NOT clear enough. My assumption was $4 per message to unsubscribe from the service?! But NO, I don't think you'll be able to unsubscribe from Celldorado. That was when I realized something fishy was going on! With no hesitation, I had a quick check on my Optus Pre-paid's credit balance.

3 days later (which is today), I get a SMS from Optus stating "This feature is unavailable from your service due to rate plan restrictions or insufficient fund. Dial XXX for balance Information." By the time I re-checked my credit balance again, there was only $1.35 left !!!

freepay

I've tried to contact the person in-charge via their "Contact Us" page but the link just brought me to my Gmail mailbox with no recipient's email address. How am I suppose to contact them without having their "actual" contacts?

At the moment I get the third SMS, I already told my boi that I'm gonna change a new SIM card as soon as my credit balance is cleared. I feel that there is no point sending them another SMS to unsubscribe from the service because I knew that even if I did do so, still they will continue charging me for no reason.

My advice is, please be careful and think twice before you actually click on such advertisements.

9 comments:

  1. you can complain to the national telecommunication girl...

    why is it theres a lot of scam! anyway, thanks for the information

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're most welcome, towr!
    As long as people are greedy, there will always be people who come up with these scams...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey christinayy ya thanks a lot for the imformation. I think my dad has fallen victim somehow.. he recently recharged and ran out of credit and thought that his fone has been ringing numbers while in his pocket. So we got him a new fone. Now, totally out of credit he is receiving sms from optus saying "feature unavailable or insufficient funds" etc. Do you think he has fallen into a scam? but he doesn't even know how to sms nor into any ringtones of anykind. just a user for work/personal related

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi David, did your dad receive any sms similar to the one above? If he wishes to keep his current mobile number, maybe you can try to help him to unsubscribe the service using sms. It'd probably cost another few more dollars to do so.

    As for my case, what I did was changing a new SIM card / prepaid number to be secure. Anyway, I'm so sorry for what happened to your dad's mobile, hopefully what I'm saying here is helpful enough to solve his problem.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi David,

    This will take a bit of your time, but you can get your Dad's money back.

    Your best option is for you to call your mobile operator (so Optus, have them check if he has any Premium rate services running on his phone, demand that a BLOCK is put on all premium rate services (demand you get an sms confirmation of that, or a writen confirmation via email) and claim a refund. These are services provided by third party companies, also known as Content providers, such as for example Celldorado decribed above which is a product of a company called Blinck (www.blinck.com)So Blinck would be a 3rd party company/Content provider.

    When you call Optus give them as much info as possible - when did it first start, what kind of messages does he get, from which shortcode (this is VERY important - a shortcode is usually a 4 or a 5 digit number from which the message arrives on your phone) etc.

    The mobile operator HAS to have a record of these messages since they bill your Dad on their (3rd party company/Content provider) behalf - it doesn't matter if your Dad doesn't get a monthly bill for his phone, the messages still run through Optima's system and "eat" your Dad's credit. If they can't pinpoint the exact 3rd party company/Content provider(sometimes they can't, especially if you don't know the shortcode), then they can tell you which Gateway the 3rd party company/Content provider is using, and they can give you the contact details for that Gateway (A Gateway is sort of a middle man between Mobile operators such as Optus and 3rd party companies/Content providers such as Blinck, it's a company that deals with the tehnical side so to speak. The thing is - they all have a share in this: Mobile operators, Gateways and 3rd party companies/Content providers)

    You can then contact the Gateway and find out which 3rd party company/Content provider is charging your Dad.A Gateway usually gives you an option - they can contact the 3rd party company/Content provider on your behalf and ask for a refund or you can do it yourself. Either way be persistant in asking for your money back. Don't take no for an answer from any of them - Mobile operator, Gateway or 3rd party company/Content provider.

    They will rather give you your money back then drag the issue. Of course this takes a bit of time as I said, a few calls and emails, but it's worth it. What always works is mentioning the media, and of course the watchdog: http://www.tio.com.au/

    This is just advice in general, but if you need any more info please feel free to ask.

    ps: "feature unavailable or insufficient funds" means he is subcribed to a service for which his phone is not comaptible (or not set up to receive) and/or he doesn't have enough credit for it to come through. Yes, they will charge you even if your phone is not compatible or not set up to receive it. That's why it's important to not put anymore money on the phone until all of this is sorted out. And when they tell you they blocked the service ALWAYS ask if there are pending messages left and demand those to be cancelled too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had the same problem, my wife subscribed to some compertition on the interned and used my mobile number and this service was charging $6.60 per sms for the one service and $2 for another! I called Optus on 133937 and they were able to stop all these services and actually called to attempt to get credits from the companies involved

    ReplyDelete
  7. FreeAdvice:
    Hi, thanks for your good advices, they're very helpful for us.

    Arran:
    Hi Arran, you've made the right move. I'm glad that you were able to solve the problem in time. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It makes you wonder...Governments today do everything to satisfy RIAA and the lot by forcing websites to shut down.

    They do not seem to care when it comes to protect individuals from scam companies like this one...

    Oh well, you should be careful where you put your verification code these days anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous:
    True and yes, I've learned the lesson since. No more mobile verification for websites...

    ReplyDelete

Dear readers,

Thanks for all your lovely comments and continual visits.
Hope I'll see you again soon! (✿◠‿◠)

xoxo,
Christina

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