Media Release

The sneaky texts that are costing Aussies $44,000

  • Mobile premium service scams are costing Aussies 6 times more than in 2015
  • Aussies have lost $153,197 since 2015
  • How to know when you’re being scammed

24 July 2018, Sydney, Australia – More and more Aussies are being scammed by premium service texts, according to finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.

finder.com.au analysis of ACCC ScamWatch data showed mobile premium service scams are on the rise, with Aussies already scammed out of $44,179 in 2018 alone.

This year’s tally is almost six times larger than January to June 2015, when reported scams totalled $7,714.

Mobile premium service texts usually come from numbers that start with 19, and they deliver anything from news and financial data to horoscopes, ringtones, adult services, competitions and games.

While some people may willingly sign up to these services, others might receive unsolicited messages, and be charged by scammers for just receiving the text.

Alex Kidman, Tech Expert at finder.com.au, says scammers are smart and if their tactics work, they keep using them.

“We may occasionally receive a nonsensical text that we read and then casually delete. What some people might not realise, is that a $4 or $6 charge appears on their bill later that month just for receiving it if it’s from a premium service you’ve unwittingly signed up for.”

“If you receive a text from a service you don’t recognise or don’t remember signing up to, chances are it’s a scam. Call your telco and ask for the number to be blocked. In fact you can get all premium service numbers blocked.”

Looking at full calendar years, money lost from premium services scams has more than doubled, increasing by 146% from 2015 to 2017.

Since 2015, mobile premium service scams have robbed Aussies of $153,197.

“Don’t be fooled by messages offering gift vouchers from well-known brands or competitions with great prizes. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”

“Always check your bill. If it’s higher than usual and not related to excess data charges or overseas calls, look out for premium service charges.”

YearCostNumber of reports
2015$19,821826
2016$40,3542,030
2017$48,8431,847
2018 (Jan-June)$44,1791,162
YearCostNumber of reports
2015 (Jan-June)$7,714312
2016 (Jan-June)$23,5101,404
2017 (Jan-June)$20,294902
2018 (Jan-June)$44,1791,162

How to know when you’re being scammed
1. You’ve received a message from a business you have never heard of or don’t remember signing up to

2. The text is from a phone number that starts with 19

3. You notice extra charges on your bill for third-party services

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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