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How do you stop unwanted SMS from 80027 that are stealing my credit?

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4: Newbie

I need to know how you stop unsolicited premium rate SMS and how you get the money they have stolen from me as a result. I have been receiving spam, unsolicited SMS from 80027 cellso-babes containing a link to a website. I have never heard of them before I started receiving messages from them and do not want to have anything to do with them, I can only assume from the name that they are some dodgy porno site. There was no indication of them being anything other than annoying junk so I deleted them thinking nothing more of it and not wanting to fall into the usual trap of replying STOP only to get bombarded with more SMS and phone calls. Why should I send STOP to something I never agreed to in the first place. Today I received a notification as one tried to come through saying I had insufficient credit for a premium rate SMS service. I have a PAYG phone and keep a very tight control on the amount of credit I put on at any one time. I have not (never have and never will) signed up to any premium rate messaging service so I was a bit surprised and checked my credit to find I only had a couple of pounds left. I'm unsure how much I've lost to these thieves as I can't remember how much I had before they started stealing it but this will be the 5th unsolicited message I have received from them. I have tried looking on this website and on others but can't find any useful, up-to-date info on what to do next. I would like to know how I go about blocking this number from sending me any more and how I can reclaim my credit that they have stolen from me since they have broken the law by signing me up without my say so and without my knowledge. There was nothing in the messages to indicate that it was costing me my credit to receive them. I use my phone for work and I can only assume that these criminals have found my number from the internet. I cannot afford to lose customers and my number has to be listed by my professional standards body so I have no control over who gets hold of it that way but I never use it to sign up to premium rate services, buy ringtones, enter competitions or give it to companies who are likely to sell it on to others. It is also a 2G phone only so does not/cannot use internet services. As things stand they are effectively holding my phone to ransom as the message I have insufficient credit to receive is blocking all other messages from coming through and if I put more credit on to get rid of it they will only use it all up sending me more. Because of them I also do not have enough credit now to be able to call somebody and speak for more than a few minutes so my phone can only be used to receive calls. I cannot do anything until I can get the messages stopped and the one blocking my account removed. Thanks in advance for any useful advice

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17: Community Champion
Hi

Texting STOP should work.

Sometimes people are caught out by inadvertently clicking a link on social media sites etc.

Also look to http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/for-the-public

Customer services on 191 should be able to put a premium message bar on your account to stop these texts.

A similar thread https://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/Account-specific-discussions/66033-scam-text/td-p/1958106

One very extreme option is to request a number change but even that does not guarantee it'll never happen again. I understand you use for number for business so expect it's something you don't really want to consider.

Current Phone > Samsung Note 9 _512Gb > Model: SM-N960 Hybrid-Duos.

Samsung One Ui  / Pie.

 

Samsung Gear s3 Frontier Watch.

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22 REPLIES 22
17: Community Champion
Hi

Texting STOP should work.

Sometimes people are caught out by inadvertently clicking a link on social media sites etc.

Also look to http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/for-the-public

Customer services on 191 should be able to put a premium message bar on your account to stop these texts.

A similar thread https://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/Account-specific-discussions/66033-scam-text/td-p/1958106

One very extreme option is to request a number change but even that does not guarantee it'll never happen again. I understand you use for number for business so expect it's something you don't really want to consider.

Current Phone > Samsung Note 9 _512Gb > Model: SM-N960 Hybrid-Duos.

Samsung One Ui  / Pie.

 

Samsung Gear s3 Frontier Watch.

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16: Advanced member

Texting back STOP to these numbers will not stop them, in fact it only serves to tell the senders that the number they are sending these texts to is active and Vodafone is earning a fortune from these calls.

 

Go into your phones settings and in 'calls' hold down the number that is displayed and a box should come up, tap 'send to blocked numbers list' and you should never receive calls from that number again. Do the same for any other unwanted callers/texts.

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17: Community Champion

@frust

 

You are going to need to make a complaint through the premium rate regulator, PhonepayPlus, and get your money back that way.

 

As far as stopping future unsolicited messages of this kind, Vodafone offer a restriction bar which you can have added to your account.  If you would like the restriction, Live Chat can add the bar.  Ask for the 'Unsolicited premium rate reverse charge short code SMS bar'.

 

Further info below on premium rate services below.

 

Essential Customer Information

 

 

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4: Newbie

Thank you for this, Ive already registered a complaint with phonepay plus, so hopefully they'll do something. If I haven't heard anything from them by the end of the week I'll have to complain again.


I'll have to see if I can get the Live Chat people to block the number and see if blocking the number from my for works, it's an old and very basic (but reliable) phone so I'm not sure if that function exists/works in the same way as on modern phones. I've tried blacklisting numbers in the past and it doesn't seem to work.

 

I don't use social media, either personally or professionally, this forum is the only thing I use and even then it's only when there's a problem so I can't have been "signed up" by clicking a link on such sites. I certainly wouldn't use my number to sign up to them. My pop-up blocker is also incredibly effective (they just don't happen) so I don't have to get rid of them manually.

 

Unfortunately, from further research, it sounds like the company sending these SMS just sign people up randomly and as soon as you reply STOP you get bombarded with more messages. One person I read lost nearly £50 a month after telling them to stop. It also sounds like they've been active for a number of years and just keep changing short codes everytime they get caught.

 

Some networks claim that they can't block these messages so I'm just hoping Vodafone can and will and that I'll be able to get my credit back. Obviously until I can get the things blocked I can't put any more credit on my phone because they'll just steal it again.
Thanks for your advice.

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17: Community Champion

I'd never reply to any unsolicited text.   There are some legitimate services - weather forecasts, traffic info, horoscopes etc - and they'll usually respond to a STOP message.  However, the real scams will just note that they've hit an in-services number and it'll get worse as they'll trade this and you'll get even more stuff.   PhoenpayPlus is the regulator, but people have reported varying levels of success with them and, of course, there's not much they can do if the texts originate outside the UK.

 

The premium rate bar should stop everything in its tracks, but will also stop you voting on TV shows, paying for parking or making chariatble donations by text, if any of that matters to you.

 

It's very difficult for any network to block messages on an ad hoc basis, just as it is for email providers to stop spam - some will get through and there will be false positives.  At least with email there's a spam folder so that you can review things.

 

Personally, I'd go for the full bar, even if that meant putting up with a little inconvenience.

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4: Newbie

Thankyou for your advice.

 

I agree about not sending a STOP txt back, even fraud specialists advise against it because it only creates more problems.

Unfortunately I tried Live Chat last night only to be told to do exactly that and they haven't put a bar on despite asking. In fact I tried to ask again once they said that was the only option only to find the person I was talking to had terminated the chat!

 

I don't use this number for txt voting etc so don't care about it being a blanket ban but since they don't seem capable of putting one on for me......well who knows.

Also how they expect me to send a stop text back when I've already said they've stolen all my credit, I recieved a msg saying insufficient credit to recieve another one (the very reason I found out about them). If I've insufficient credit to recieve one I've also got insufficient credit to send them a STOP one because it costs the same amount of money either way. Unless I put more credit on....only for it to be stolen by them I don't see an end to this.

 

I've already registered with phonepayplus and haven't recieved anything yet but I will keep going at it. I will not let these criminals get away with it and it's not just for me but for their countless other victims.

 

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16: Advanced member

Have you looked into the 'reject calls' suggestion that I gave you? Does your phone have this facility?

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17: Community Champion

Try again.  The option is definitely there.   I believe the term you may need to use is Premium Rate SMS Bar.

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16: Advanced member

What brand of phone is it? Looking in the owners instruction book should tell you how to bar calls and texts and if you haven't got an instruction book download one from the 'net in PDF format.

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17: Community Champion

I don't think barring calls will work, and I'm not sure you can bar texts.  I also rather think that the charge occurs when the text hits your Vodafone account, so it'll still be charged even if it doesn't get to your handset.   If it doesn't do that, you can't see the shortcode you need to report it to PhonepayPlus.

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16: Advanced member

If you don't try it you'll never know, if it doesn't stop the texts or the charge to the account then the other ways suggested will have to be explored, no-one can say for definite what will or will not work in preventing these unwanted charged for communications so no advice or suggestions given should be discounted, Vodafone should take some responsibility in this and charge for calls and texts you MAKE, not for calls and texts you RECEIVE.

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16: Advanced member

@froggerty wrote:

no-one can say for definite what will or will not work in preventing these unwanted charged for communications 


It won't work.  The blocking would be at handset level and not network level.  By that stage it is already too late and the charges have already been applied to the account.  It is exactly the same as having your handset off for a few days and not receiving on of these chargeable texts - you will still be billed for it.

PWIAC

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17: Community Champion

Payment by text is an legitimate process that works across all networks.  Vodafone (or any network) can only pass on what comes in.   If it's not legitimate, they may be able to help you identify the sender, but they can't selectively block or obtain refunds and more than they could if you used your phone to buy something on a website that subesquently turned out to be a dud.

 

They have the premium rate bar, which is what's appropriate in this case, especially as the OP doesn't want to use any form of payment by SMS.

 

As regards refunds, sometimes contacting the sender will work, otherwise there's PhonepayPlus, though some people have reported their being pretty toothless.  On the other hand, they have handed out significant fines to major offenders.

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4: Newbie

I have tried to get a bar put on my phone for all premium rate SMS but vodafone haven't done anything, they didn't even acknowledge it's existence, and they've told me the only way is to text STOP to these criminals.

 

froggerty - the block funtion on my phone is only to prevent outgoing calls. It doesn't block texts or anything incoming and as others have said even if it did block incoming I would still get charged.

 

I have already registered a complaint with phonepayplus but have heard nothing yet. Apparently it can take up to 5 days for an acknowledgment to come through. If I don't hear by the end of the week I'll get onto them again because I too heard mixed reports.

 

Trying to find accurate info on the people sending these SMS is a bit of a mindfield. They seem to have been going for a while under various guises so some of the details are probably outdated or fraudulant. Once I've done a bit more digging I am going to play hell with them.

 

I'll probably also try and go higher up the vodafone pecking order to get the bar put on. I'm not going to give up on this.

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16: Advanced member

In my mind, if Vodafone is collecting the charges for these premium number texts then the responsibility lies with them to get them stopped, they are unsolicited and If Vodafone says that they are nothing to do with them then they are lying, they bound to have an interest in the caller. If these charges were seperate to your monthly payment to Vodafone then you could instruct your Bank to stop the payments. If I were you I would try and speak to someone at Ofcom and also Citizens Advice to see what you can do to stop this. I've said this before and will probably say again many times, when signing that contract when you renew, ALWAYS put a tick in the box in the small print where it says 'tick the box if you do not wish to receive communications from Vodafone partners or third parties for advertising and marketing purposes', that legaly binds them not to pass on or use your details.

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16: Advanced member

@froggerty wrote:

In my mind, if Vodafone is collecting the charges for these premium number texts then the responsibility lies with them to get them stopped


Vodafone is simply passing the charges onto the customer.  This isn't any different from Royal Mail delivering a bill in the mail. 

PWIAC

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Community Champion (Retired)

The important thing here is for @frust to get back to Vodafone via Live Chat, and insist that they can apply the "Premium Rate Reverse Charge SMS Bar". They definitely can do it, but unfortunately not enough of the agents seem to know about it. The thing to do is keep trying - if the first agent you get doesn't seem to get the message in a reasonable time, then terminate the discussion (in such a way that you can get at the transcript for your records), and try again, until you get a properly clued-up agent who will fix it for you.

 

Making any changes on your phone is too far down the line - as already said above, the charge comes when the text hits your account. 

 

As a PAYG customer, it may also be possible to do it direct via your online account. I have an amazing selection of Bars of one sort or another listed in the Manage Services: Bars section of my account, part of the list shown below (right-click and open in another tab to view the detail).

Illustration23.jpg

I haven't tried any of these, and am always a bit nervous of recommending stuff I haven't tried, but I have them in mind as first stop if I find that I've become a victim of this sort of scam.

 

Annie.

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16: Advanced member

Your screenshot will not open in another tab Annie, not on my PC anyway.

 

Log on to your account, click on mamage account, then bars then scroll down the list and turn on by clicking the greyed out 'off' boxes beside the ones you wish to take control of.

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Community Champion (Retired)

Thanks for that, @froggerty! Disappointing that it isn't opening OK for you - seems to behave OK for me. Because I use my mouse left-handed, I sometimes mis-describe these things, but I've checked it. "Main-clicking" does nothing, but "other-clicking" produces a list of options, including "open in new tab".

 

I'm using Google Chrome, and Windows Vista. I've just tried using IE9, and the options to open are all greyed out. Tried turning off the pop-up blocker, but that doesn't help, so my only option within IE9 seems to be to save it as a picture, then have a look at it. Hmm, I'll have to do some experimentation! In the meantime I'll stop using screenshots as a way to demonstrate such options. [EDIT: Just checked Windows 7 and IE11 (with RH mouse) - the options to open are also all greyed out! On the other hand, zooming in does produce readable text.]

 

Annie.

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