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Beware of direct-to-mobile scammers

Adi7
Level 2: Apprentice
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I've been scammed out of £759. This came to light after receiving what appeared to be a phishing text message from a company called iFitness. The message stated that I’d been charged £3. I decided to err on the side of caution and call O2 customer service to confirm that no such charge had been applied. That’s when I discovered that iFitness and two other organisations — SB7 Mobile Ltd (aka Nuyoo) and Watch It — have illegally been applying ‘transactions’ to my account for some time.

 

I had not heard of any of these three companies. I would not know how to use their services — if in fact they provide any — if I wanted to. O2 advised me to contact each of them in order to cancel my 'subscriptions' and pursue a refund. Helpfully, I was given contact details for each so-called merchant. While the charges now appear to have stopped, reclaiming my stolen money is of course proving to be more challenging.

 

SB7 Mobile Ltd told me that because my 'subscription' has been active for more than 14 days they would not issue a refund. However, should I wish to dispute it, I could fill out a claims form via a link which they sent to me by text message. This was hosted on a website belonging to yet another unknown organisation and would require me to disclose further personal details. Handing over such information to an unknown entity would have been foolish in the extreme. My calls to iFitness and Watch It were even less productive. After confirming my phone number, the iFitness line went silent for several minutes. It was a dead-end with nobody to speak to. Watch It asked for my phone number and hung up as soon as I started speaking. I have recordings of all three calls for evidence.

 

The next step is legal action against the third parties. I would advise everyone to watch their phone bills closely and to opt out of the direct-to-mobile payment scheme, which is enabled by default.

 

[Edit made at the request of OP]

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Bambino
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@Adi7 Report it to the police: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

I DO NOT WORK FOR O2



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MI5
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@Adi7 

Community advice here Guide: Have you fallen for or been conned into a premium rate scam? What to do next and an excellent resource here www.payforitsucks.co.uk

I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.
Please select the post that helped you best and mark as the solution. This helps other members in resolving their issues faster. Thank you.
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TallTrees
Level 50: Versatile
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Hello @Adi7 

 

What a totally appalling situation. 

It means a fight, of course, and advices from our community members

for you is a great help.  @Payforit_Sucks   is and has been a benefit to many,

solid advice there.

Get your money back, it is a considerable sum, but even if in some circumstances

it is £4.50 it is fraudulently obtained and therefore fight get it back and don't let

these scum get away with it.  Of course it should be stopped and there are

petitions on this very subject, unfortunately they seem to fall on "deaf ears"

until a Govt. directive is put in place.

Good Luck, Get your money back, I am sure you will.

Best wishes TallTrees

 



HAPPINESS IS BEE SHAPED

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Payforit_Sucks
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@Adi7 

I'm sorry to hear you've had money take from you by O2's Payforit scams.

 

The companies that have taken your money all have a long history of defrauding consumers using the Payforit mechanism.

 

O2 should not be providing international numbers for calling these companies. It is a legal requirement that these"customer service" lines be standard rate UK numbers ( 01, 02 or 03) which are included in most phone contracts.

 

In May this year, O2 changed their rules to require "affirmative action" to ensure that these "subscriptions" are not entered into accidentally or fraudulently. Unfortunately there is increasing evidence that O2 failed to enforce this rule change. Since 1st November it became a requirement of the regulator that such affirmative action be required - it is to be hoped that this will finally put a stop to these scams.

 

Your "subscriptions" probably predate these rule changes. The subscriptions arise as a direct result of O2 leaking your number to "third parties" when you access the internet using mobile data (as opposed to WiFi). The mechanism used, and the manner in which it has been used to perpetrate fraud is described in this research report produced for BBC Watchdog. 

https://www.surecloud.com/services/blog/bbc-watchdog-research-paper-payforit 

 

Unfortunately, in the first instance you do need to contact the companies concerned. 

 

The contact details you need are:

 

Watchit.tv (shortcode 62442)  0330 808 5223  hotlineuk<at>watch-it.tv

 

iFitness (shortcode 80206) 0330 122 4968  help<at>pmconnect.co.uk

 

I'm not sure which of SB7Mobile's "services" you are subscribed to:

LoadedMobi Games  (shortcode 83463) 0330 053 5867  help<at>loadedgaming.co.uk

Nuyoo (shortcode 83463)  0333 344 2051   help<at>nuyoo.co

 

All these phone numbers are standard UK numbers.

Your first step should be to call and/or email them (these lines usually only work Mon-Fri during working hours).

 

Ask them to either FULLY refund all the charges they have taken, or to provide the following information:

• Screenshots of the subscription workflow where you were alleged to have signed up for this service.
• A description of what the service you are supposed to have subscribed to provides? Is this a newsletter, access to a web portal?
• Any evidence that after supposedly signing up for the service, you actually used it
• The complete web server log of the subscription, including the User Agent strings containing all device details (browser, device type, device IP address) together with dates and times.
• If the subscription started after 11th May 2019, auditable proof of the additional authentication used (as required to comply with O2/giffgaff rules)
• Full company details of the company operating the service, country of registration, full name of company, company number and registered company address.
• Details of the Accredited Payment Intermediary(API) which handled the payment
• Details of the company’s disputes procedure, including any ADR scheme you can refer the matter to if they fail to provide a full refund.

 

If they are uncooperative, you may need to take the matter further. You can ask O2 to meet their obligations under the Payorit rules: 

Screenshot 20**Personal info** 10.15.05.png

"Your network has added value in terms of access search, the Payforit scheme and the charging mechanism and you can escalate any dispute between you and the seller to your network for them to take a decision as long as you have discussed the dispute with the seller and can provide evidence of that discussion to your network" 

 

However, O2 routinely abrogate their responsibilty and most consumers need to pursue other channels.

 

PMConnect and SB7 Mobile are both members of CommsADR, so if they fail to refund you can make a claim here: https://www.commsadr.co.uk/createclaim/

 

Watchit.tv is more difficult as they are based in France. You best bet is to find out who the "Level 1 provider" is for this service. This is the company that handled your payment - they will be UK based. and take action against them.

 

More help and information is available on the Payforitsucks website.

 

Make sure to leave Trustpilot reviews of these companies:

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/sb7mobile.com 

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.pmconnect.co.uk

 

Also make sure you report these scams to the regulator: https://psauthority.org.uk/for-consumers/report-an-issue 

 

I'm afraid you will have a battle to get your money back, but most consumers do ultimately succeed if they go about it in a determined and organised manner.

 

Happy to provide further support here or through the payforitsucks website.

 

Paul

Phone payment scam? Need independent advice? Payforit Faq for O2 Customers
 
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Adi7
Level 2: Apprentice
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Thanks very much to all who have responded. You've provided useful and detailed information and encouraged me not to give up on chasing this lost money.
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