We're hearing reports this morning of a growing SMS scam in the US, where users are receiving unsolicited celebrity gossip texts and then being charged $9.99 a month for the privilege. The texts are being received from a range of different short codes, including 60822, 55033, 36713, and 99716. Despite the message's promise that users can opt out simply by replying with "STOP," apparently this doesn't work in practice with the charge reaching their bills regardless. The texts read:
TXTALTSNOW:You?ll receive Entertnmnt Alts.$9.99/mo billed to cell; 3 msg /wk. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel. Msg&Data rates may apply.
These are usually followed by texts about the Kardashians and Tim Tebow. When the charges reach the bills, they give the name Silicon Investments Group — a company supposedly based in Illinois, but that's all the detail we could find. There's also a phone number for the company, which leads to an answering machine prompting you to leave a message or send an email to unsubscribe. Carriers are reportedly being helpful on the most part, blocking the numbers and reversing any charges.