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Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

If you were to look over the forum recently, and in the past, you will see periods where these scam "content services" seem to be mass texting Optus mobile users out of nowhere, as if someone has sold their phone number to them to spam their content service texts to.


I have some questions for you Optus:

1. Does Optus sell mobile numbers to third party entities for advertisement purposes? How are these scammers getting so many Optus numbers seemingly all at once?

2. While its clear you aren't "comlicit" in these scams, the overwelming feedback is that clients are being told these fees are not an Optus billing issue, and that the client has to contact the scammer to dispute the charges.
How can you claim this to not be an Optus billing issue, when clearly the fees are being actively collected and enforced through you, optus?

 

3. What exactly do you do when you tell the client you "investigate" a disputed scammer charge, when the client calls you to complain?
Do you simply look at a web log as I've been told, which shows a claim of consent from the content provider saying the client clicked a link or texted a response on a particular date and time and thats enough evidence for you to say its final?

 

4. What do you do when a client follows your direction to call the scammer to dispute charges, and are unable to reach the scammer by phone or email to do this (because they refuse to answer calls)?

 

5. What does it take for you to blacklist a content service? A Lawsuit? An investigation by the ACC? Or does Optus actively do proper unbias investigations into these servives?

6. If a service is ultimately found to be misleading customers either through an ACC investigation or a court hearing, do you actively go out of your way to apologise to your customers, and refund people who have fallen victim to them? Or do you just let those bills go, and pretend it never happend?

 

I hope someone at Optus can answer these questions, because Im really concerned about the huge influx of people complaining about this issue and the overwelming negative response from customers after they contact Optus.

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Trusted Contributor
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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

>>1. Does Optus sell mobile numbers to third party entities for advertisement purposes? How are these scammers getting so many Optus numbers seemingly all at once?

 

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2418905

 

It requires political activity and maybe a petition, but I don't know if people would care enough to sign it. Only people who are caught seem motivated.

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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

Actually, I just read through their privacy policy.
Their overseas owner singtel clearly would be selling off our information to advertisers.
Also, it says that Optus may share your personal information with third parties, however, this information is desensitized, so that the third party would not have your sensitive information besides your contact number, and possibly your address or area of residence, likely excluding your name.

 

Once your information goes overseas, and is being stored overseas (by singtel in Singapore), they really aren't going to be held accountable under Australian law in dealing with that information stored overseas.

 

It's just like Centrelink saying your information is safe when you sign up under their dodgy "MyGov" account.
When you look into the whole system, the Australian entity says they will not share your personal information with anyone.
But when your information lands in a server located overseas held by a foreign entity, your information is not protected by Australian law anymore.

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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

Hi @Tom020, looks like you have been subscribed to premium SMS usage. Please feel free to PM us here → http://yesopt.us/pmaman and we can help.


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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

I swear these moderators must have bots reading and automatically responding with generic answers based on the content of the title...

 

No I have not recently fallen victim to this. I have in the past, and that was resolved through the TIO.

I'm concerned right now because I'm suddenly seeing all these complaints pop up about these scammers tricking people into subscriptions they never wanted.

I am asking these questions both for my peace of mind and the community's.

So please answer those questions here.

You don't need to take my personal details or look into my account to answer the questions I asked in my op.

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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

I can understand  @Tom020 how frustrating these unwanted charges can be. Basically once we bar 1900 numbers then there are no charges ever until you request to unbar 1900 numbers again . 


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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

Why are these scammers allowed to scam so many people then?
You aren't barring them. Don't lie.
What you are doing, is allowing these scammers to scam people, then if the customer calls, maybe you will end up refunding their money, but most people will just have their credit/debit card directly debited with their bill and don't notice it until much later and so they don't bother.

You know who these people are, and you apparently "barr" them all the time, yet countless more people are getting scammed...
Why barr it for ONE user, rather than outright blacklist these scammers?
How could Optus possibly think its not going to get reamed by the ACCC or a mass lawsuit one day over this?
You are basically running this scam yourself through a proxy.

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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

The Whirlpool Forum by now has 52 pages @ 20 complaints/pae or 1,000 complaints about SPAM SMS SCAMS and tells us telcos sell details. Telstra and other telcos are just as bad. The recommended "STOP" SMS does not help to stop the charging and may even lead to further charging. Scammer also tells victims to call 1900 numbers at xx$s/minuite.

 

The telcos all support a recommendation of double verification via opt-in/opt-out but the scammers ignore it. Worse, a lot of tax-consuming public servants in the ACCC, ACMA, ACORN, Scamwatch, Scamnet, etc. just keep scam statistics and do not investigate and fine.

 

However, the TIO works for you! This is the email I am sending to politicians (MP Hastie, MP Georgianas, MP Hanson, MP Xenophon, MP Wyatt) begging them to legislate fines and enforcement and to those useless public servants, Whirlpool, Telstra forum and Yescrowd:

 
"The telco industry has signed up to a standard, which supports dual verification via opt-in/opt-out and does not support those one-clock subscriptions to "Premium Serevices" with their monthly charges even after sending a "STOP" SMS. The telcos suggest contacting the scammers, which never leads to a refund. Filling in long on-line complaints for ACMA, ACCC, ACORN, Scamwatch, Scamnet, police, etc. leads to an automated reply and the keeping of scam statistics, but never any enforcement.

Please suggest the following to complainants as one-click subscription to "Premium Services" via spam SMS messages are prohibited under the telco industry recommendations:
 
  1. Tell customer to ring the telco and ask for the money to be refunded. Ignore suggestion to get money back from scammer.
  2. If unsuccessful during the call, mention a complaint to TIO (Ombudsman). Costs telco $30.
  3. If still unsuccessful, place on-line complaint to TIO, keep automated reference number and check invoices for credit. If still unsuccessful, use reference number to escalate complaint with TIO. Costs telco more than $30!
END OF EMAIL

 

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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

Why so many rip-offs? A "click farm" was discovered by police on the Thai/Cambodian border with 500 mobiles, SIM cards, etc. Great!

 

A German scammer with the name of ORDANNDU GmbH ripped me off to the tune of $20.20 and mentioning "TIO" to Telstra's Manila HQ at 132200 got me the money back.

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Re: Spam Texts, Scam Services. What is Optus doing about this?

FROM THE WHIRLPOOL COMMS FORUM:

 

After a bit of back and forth i managed to get a refund from Optus, it took the threat of a TIO complaint and threat to leave to make anything happen though. Why these telcos can't give their customer the benefit of the doubt in this issue is beyond me (ok, maybe not, surely they are profiting), a quick google reveals many complaints on their own user foums from customers with the exact same issue. They never purposefully signed up for anything.

Some ammo i used in my conversations with Optus:

From the TIO website (https://www.tio.com.au/about-us/position-statements/charges😞

Third party charges billed by the provider
If a telecommunications service allows a consumer to incur charges for third party products – for example, mobile applications (apps) or in-app purchases – on their telecommunications bill or pre-paid credit, the consumer should be made aware of this before they incur the third party charges.

My first charge was made before i got the "You are subscribed..." text message

The provider shares responsibility with the third party for resolving disputes about third party charges it bills to the consumer.

It's not up to you the customer to resolve the issue, so when they tell you to call the third party on whatever number they give, tell them no

From the Communications Alliance Industry Code (http://www.commsalliance.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/45844/C637_2011-Variation-No.1-2014.pdf😞

The additional Rules for providing information to Customers of a Subscription Premium Messaging Service are:
4.4.1 Double Opt-In
– Subscription Request Message: Following receipt of a clear and positive request to subscribe to a Subscription Premium Messaging Service (regardless of how that request is received, whether via an MO Message, any other advertised means or otherwise) a Content Supplier must in all cases, send a standard, dedicated SMS subscription request message ("Subscription Request Message") to the Customer's mobile phone number (with no Premium Fees charged to the Customer for the message)

Where is the double opt-in procedure?!

6.1.15 Disputed amounts: A Content Supplier must not demand payment of genuinely disputed amounts whilst the dispute is being investigated.

Don't pay the amount in dispute once a claim has been raised

After getting the dispute resolved, I raised a complaint with the TIO and left Optus anyway, the way they handled this and their accusatory response to my initial complaint was unacceptable, they had a chance to win my loyalty by showing theirs.

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