Who Put This Spam on My Tab?

The next time you receive text message spam, watch out! It’s apparently possible for a third party to add services to your account without your consent. I received a text from “Horoscopegenie Alert” at short code 27140 (the “phone number” that shows on the message). It said I would be charged $9.99 a month and to reply STOP to cancel the subscription.

I ignored the message, thinking that any response from me would only elicit additional spam, but when I went to pay my bill at the end of the month there was an actual charge for this service. Thankfully my carrier was able to refund the charge and also put additional security in place on my account. Now, any “mobile purchases” require a PIN, which should prevent third parties from adding things to my account without my knowledge. Mobile purchases include things like this horoscope scam as well as things like “Text XXX to YYY now to buy this ringtone!” Other things like App Store purchases on an iPhone are something different, which means I’ll probably never actually need the PIN.

So read those spam texts carefully, and don’t hesitate to check with your carrier about applying a PIN to mobile purchases on your account.

By |2012-02-19T07:26:00+00:00February 19th, 2012|General Blog|3 Comments


  1. Anonymous February 19, 2012 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Interesting approach by at&t. Since this came over shortcode sms Im betting this is a carrier problem and not an Apple issue. It seems that they either aren’t equipped to, or have no interest in handling security faults in their billing system.

    • Anonymous February 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Yeah, the rep I spoke with said that it’s happening to everyone and that all the carriers are “working together” to figure out a way to stop it.  I’m not sure how true that part is, but I’m definitely glad the option to put that PIN in place is free!

  2. […] later discovered that Horoscopegenie Alert is opt-out spam — you must text a reply to them in order to avoid being signed up for a subscription. And I discovered that “WiseMediaUS,” AT&T’s business partner for whom they […]

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