TapSMS Spam+

On May 7 I had a spam text message from “Free Msg” which just consisted of a web link so I ignored it. On May 9 a very similar one came from a short-code number (82999). When an identical one arrived a week later it was starting to get annoying—but not as annoying as discovering that I was being charged £3 each for them.

It looked like some toe-rag had signed me up for a premium text service. I don’t know how; I think (hope) that it is unrelated to changing phone service provider.

I enquired of the excellent GiffGaff agent service and also doing a bit of research I discovered phonepayplus.org.uk which apparently is the regulator for UK SMS marketing. They provide a lookup service for the short-code and from there I discovered that the service was run by Veoo and their (required) contact number was 0800 157 7502. With trepidation I rang that and got a very pleasant woman who took some details and then told me that the marketing company using that number was Total Solve Ltd who could be contacted on 0161 884 1078. This number matched one that was in the spam messages. So far so good; not a free number but my contract would take up the cost so I rang that as well.

Again there was a very agreeable lady on the other end who took the same details. She also told me that it was a subscription download service (soft porn considering the link name) and checked that my “account” had never been used so agreed without any hesitation to block it and refund the money by PayPal (direct bank credit was also available).

Both calls were very quick with no sleepy music or marketing announcements. The downside could have been that now, they not only had my name and phone number but also my email address. I wasn’t going to give out bank details.

You will be glad to know that there was a happy ending—the refund duly arrived today.

For information the text of the message read (I don’t suggest that you go there so I have inserted spaces).

http://g l a m o u r h u n n i e s . com/ ?pass=[hex codes] HelpLine ? 01618841078

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