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League of Inveterate Poets

The out-of-context contextuality of a foolish sage

Mobibro IQ SMS Text Message Subscription Scam





By on March 3, 2012

MobiborIQ Mobibro IQ

Die Scammers!

Un freakin’ believable. Mobibro IQ / MobibroIQ – die you scammers!

Just lost two hours of my evening to a text message scam. Got a series of messages from “MobibroIQ” saying I was subscribed for $9.99 a month to a “Fun Facts” service. Needless to say, I never asked for this.

The first message read:

MobibroIQ Fun Facts billed at $9.99/mo. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Reply HELP for help. Enter UR password on the website to continue: 7263

I did nothing at this point, certainly didn’t “enter UR password on the website” (at the time I didn’t even know they had a web site). Moments later I got another text saying “Welcome to IQ!” and telling me to reply STOP to cancel.

Called AT&T and sure enough, there was a $9.99 charge on my bill. They credited it, but when I asked how this could happen, all they could say is that it is generated from a third party and there is nothing they can do about it, except block my number from being able to make text message purchases.

I discovered the scammers have a web site at www.mobibro.com. Their text messages came from 584-97. I’m trying to find a way to report them to my state’s attorney general office. The IQ Fun Facts text scam has also been run under other names, such as Chalkboard IQ, Mobchance, Brain Cool and GAGACell.

Were you aware that you could be subscribed and billed without any authorization on your part? Check your phone bills!

Pro Tip: From a friend on Facebook: I have seen a huge uptick in spam/junk SMS text messages to my phone. I hope you have not. If you have, forward the offending junk text to 7726. This works on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint at least. The cell providers can then act to shut down the infected phone. It’s effective and free! Please repost/share this to help everyone fight junk texts!

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_spam
http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB115812&cv=820#fbid=wIObFiQqtpl

UPDATE!!: AT&T and Verizon agree to stop “cramming” phone bills. After pressure from an investigation started by NBC’s Today Show and then by the US Sentate, two of the largest telcoms have agreed to end the practice of allowing third parties to “subscribe” text message customers to their services without permission from the customer. The article notes that three major telcoms made over $165 million since 2006 by this practice.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: An alert person on Google+ just informed me that a careful read of the article linked above shows that AT&T and Verizon have agreed to end allowing third party charges on land lines only! In other words, this has no effect on wireless text messaging (SMS) services. Therefore, your only protection at this  point is to either discontinue your text service completely, or have your provider place a purchase block on your account.


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