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OFT sends fake 'scam' text messages

15-24 year olds urged to be aware of scams

Thousands of 15-24 year olds received fake scam text messages last week as part of a campaign by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The text message, which was just one of a number of initiatives taking place as part of Scams Awareness Month read: "Urgent! U may have won £1k cash with '2 Good 2 B True'." It was promptly followed by a further text that highlighted the fact there was no prize and it had been sent by the OFT to warn about scams.

According to the OFT, 6 percent of all scam victims are aged between 15 and 24.

"Young people can fall for exactly the same types of scam as anyone else, often delivered through the latest technology. We hope that our innovative approach of sending fake scam text messages will remind young consumers to be on their guard if they receive a suspicious offer," said Mike Haley, director of consumer protection at the OFT.

SMSus, a new service that allows users to text details of a premium rate number or shortcode and receive an automatic reply with the cost of the number, details of the service provider, how to contact them and how to complain if necessary, was also highlighted in the OFT's text messages. The service was launched by PhonepayPlus. Simply text the number you wish to query to 76787 and wait for PhonepayPlus to reply.

Trays O'Reilly, director of standards and communications at PhonePayPlus said: "More and more people are using mobile phones to pay for a range of products and services and in most instances this happens without problems. Our job is to crack down on scams and other misbehaviour when it occurs so that everyone can use phone-paid services with confidence."

For more mobile phone news, reviews and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, in association with BlackBerry

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