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IT SecuritySecuripol Ltd. IT Security

Premium-rate scams on phones

Warning from regulator PhonepayPlus (www.phonepayplus.org.uk) a partner of Ofcom.

Three UK companies were find £330,000 in December 2014. Working with antivirus company Kaspersky, it found that the Android Apps made by Circle Marketing, Cloudspace and Synchronized to promote and provide premium-rate services contained malware.

Victims inadvertently installed the apps. Which had names including Fun Sexy and Glam Pleasures, from porn sites. After installing the app, victims unwittingly began subscribing to a premium rate service simply by tapping anywhere on the phones screen. This subscription charged users £1.50 and £4.50 a week. Most people didn’t know they were being charged because the apps stopped the notification confirming payment from appearing. Some people reported bills of hundreds of pounds. Others complained to PhonepayPlus that they received sexually explicit text messages.

What should you do?

Avoiding porn websites doesn’t mean you’ll be immune from premium–rate scams. Criminals are also using fake Android apps, sold on both the Google Play Store and unofficial alternatives, to infect phones with malware that calls or texts expensive numbers. Make sure you’re convinced by an app’s authenticity before installing it.

It’s crucial you spot scams early, so check for any unusual payment on your phone bill. Be savvy on your IT Security.

If you think you’ve been scammed, contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500 212. You can find out if a premium-rate number is legitimate using the regulator’s Number Checker (www.snipca.com/14720)

Source Computer Active (Jan 2015)