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Frustrating, Fraudulent, Illegal.

Jan 12, 2012
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This is a little off-topic, but I feel the information should be shared. And this is the best way I know to share my experience. Reviewing my cell phone bill recently, I noticed a charge for $9.99. Luckily I noticed a difference in my bill amount and wondered why. The bill shows a $9.99 charge from short code 74248 with a subscription name of IQ34CALL8668611606. hmmmmm.

I called AT&T to determine the reason for this charge. AT&T, at their best, could only remove the charge, and block any further purchases with their FREE (lol), purchase blocker service. I wonder how long it will take before I'm charged for that service. I will say that AT&T did not hesitate one second to remove the charge. Usually you have to fight with them, so I'm fairly certain they realize this has happened before. I reviewed my bill online, and see 3 incoming text messages occurring on 12/27/2011 within 2 minutes of time.

There are no outgoing messages to this number at all. I remember receiving those, and thinking WTF? Some stupid ad, so I deleted and moved on with my life. If only I had known I was going to be billed for those text messages, I certainly would have kept them. I'm trying to remember what the ad was for, but no luck.

I discovered that the party sending the messages is mblox.com

www.mblox.com
1-408-617-3700
430 N Mary Avenue
Suite 100
Sunnyvale, CA 94085

CEO: Steve Love

MBlox is a service to send text messages to cell phones. They do the actual sending. They are not the ones initiating the text message. Do you think they are liable for sending an unsolicited charged message? After speaking with Meg at mblox.com, I learned that the short code 74248 is owned by:

Mobile Media Products
help@mobilemediaproducts.net
http://www.mobsetter.com
866-766-0226


Mobile Media Products is registered through 1and1.com

1and1 Internet Web Hosting
877-461-2631
701 Lee Road
Suite 100
Chesterbrook, PA 19087

1and1 Internet appears to be a company that hosts and registers websites. I spoke with Andrea and was given the following contact information to report one of their clients as fraudulent.

abuse-team@1and1.com
security-team@1and1.com
complaints@1and1.com
legal@1and1.com

With all these email addresses, I wonder if any of them actually get read? It's worth a shot.

This is the website for mobsetter.com. Notice the disclaimer which says, "Account Holder must authorize all purchases." I think its funny that no one can tell me who or when this was authorized. I never sign up for any text messages like that. As a software engineer, I think I know what I'm doing, and would not inadvertently signup without knowing about it. Nor have i ever been to mobsetter.com.

So what can we do about this? This is FRAUDULENT and the offending parties should be prosecuted by law. I hope, if anyone else has had a similar issue, this information is helpful in some way. I will pursue this to the best of my ability. But how far will that get me? Probably nothing more than a headache. I wonder how much money they make from people who simply don't notice an extra charge on their phone bill.

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