How consumers can avoid Premium SMS scams

Premium SMS is an innovative way for consumers to do business with a company without the hassle of credit card payments. But, as with all payment systems, there are providers and people out there who misuse this form of mobile payment and actually trick consumers into losing money. How can you spot such a scam?

Always think twice

Don’t respond on unsolicited messages – especially those that ask for your personal information. Ask yourself if the message looks legit or not; you will usually find that it has something a bit unrealistic about it. One example of these messages are those claiming that you have won a prize. Unless you have actually entered into a legit competition, delete those message immediately!

If an unsolicited message contains a link in the content – don’t click on it! Simple as that.

Do you know the provider?

Like your parents always told you – don’t trust strangers. Before your sign up to receive anything, always make sure that you know who the provider is. Just because a Premium SMS contains some kind of tempting offer, you should always do some research and find out if the company even exists.

Always read the fine print

Make sure what you are getting yourself into. Hidden costs and “terms and conditions apply” are often used to solicit extra money from consumers. Don’t assume that a payment is once-off – often times it is not. You might think you are downloading one ringtone for R20, but surprise surprise, next month you are charged R20 again without receiving anything. If a provider isn’t upfront about their fees – stay away.

Check your phone bill religiously

The fastest way to detect fraudulent phone activity, is to check your phone bill every month. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and why you are paying for it. Be on the lookout for any questionable descriptions.
Don’t be click-happy

Warn the youngsters

Teenagers are often the target of Premium SMS scams, because they are always looking for trendy digital goods like wallpapers, funny videos, music etc. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to identify mobile scams.

Herman Cremer
A seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in digital & mobile solutions and advertising.


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