Christmas joke SMS scam

One of the great Christmas traditions is the Christmas cracker, and the appalling jokes they come with.

Cast your mind back to the Christmas just gone. Did you get an SMS on your mobile phone, with an appalling Christmas cracker-style joke, from the number 19900025, that you didn’t expect? If so, check your next phone bill carefully. It’s a scam, and you’ll find you were charged $3.50 for the privilege. (I actually got two, and have been charged $7.00. Oh joy.)

Call your phone company bill enquiries line. Insist on a refund. If they refuse, you may like to ask to speak to a supervisor, and/or their TIO liason person. Alternately just ring them again, you may well get someone more willing to cooperate.

You may also like to talk to the TIO (Telephone Industry Ombudsman), or your local state Consumer Affairs department. And if you don’t normally use them, ask your phone company about blocking any future premium messages.

I also got an offer of a “free” ringtone. I didn’t take them up on it, and don’t appear to have been charged for the privilege of the offer.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Christmas joke SMS scam”

I got something about a ringtone a few weeks back but never thought anything of it. Now I’ll have to make sure I check my bill and see if there are any related charges. I think I opened and read the message but didn’t reply or take any action.

I’m not sure what happened exactly. Did you just receive a message or did you reply to it? If you just received it, how can you be charged? thanks

I dip in occasionally, but I’ve never posted there before.

Rog, it appears to be a weakness with the way premium SMS services work. You can be charged for receiving one.

I have contacted my phone company and got a credit for the amount.

Thanks for the tip – I got that message but clean forgot about it during the Christmas/New Year craziness. I checked my phone bill just then and, sure enough, I’ve been charged $3.18. I wonder how many people will never notice – it certainly underscores the importance of checking your phone bills.

Got it too, along with the ring tone one as well. If I get charged, I will be furious with Telstra for charging me for an unsolicited incoming message. I think I would have picked it up anyway especially as there has been some publicity.

Yep, I got it too – twice!! I am on pre-paid and here I was wondering why I suddenly had no credit remaining over the Christmas period when I had difficulties topping up (new baby to look after etc etc). I keep a pretty close eye on my balance and usually have a rough idea of how much I have left – I thought I had had…oooh, around $7.00 remaining! Will be contacting my carrier.

I just called Vodafone and they wouldn’t refund me the money. They advised me to call Mobile 265 which is the company that sent them out on behalf of Friendly Communication.

Call 1300 661 263 and follow the prompts to get a refund. They obviously know they’ve done something wrong as the ‘christmas message’ from 19900025 is in the voice prompts… I left my details now we’ll see if a refund is forthcoming. I’m still going to write to the TIO and complain.

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