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Mystery SMS "charges when abroad"

Quackduck
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According to my Pay Monthly bill this month I've been charged extra for 5 (so far!) SMS messages to the following number while abroad: 07860 019210 

 

I don't recognise the number, I have not sent any SMS while I've been away, and I have no record on my phone of having sent these messages.

 

A quick Google of the number suggests it's either a scam, or it's related to O2 somehow, as other O2 customers have experienced the same while abroad. I am using an eSIM for mobile data since the O2 plan was too expensive.

 

Does this ring any bells for anyone?

 

I've been trying to get hold of someone at O2 customer service for the past 24h but no luck. I'd just like to understand what I'm being charged for, or whether it's a scam. (Blocking the number won't help since my O2 bill claims I sent the messages myself.)

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Dave-O2
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Thanks @MattyBur@SteveJabroad 

 

@Cleoriff Going forward these charges will no longer appear on any billing.

 

For anyone who has been charged, and has not had a credit back, can drop me a PM 👍

 

 

iPhone 15 Megathread //  Don't fall for scams  //  How to get Volt benefits
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Cleoriff
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@Quackduck 

That number appears to be linked to a holiday text scam

https://www.unknownphone.com/phone/07860019210 

We're just customers like you but it sounds as if you need someone to access your account which can't be done from here

Give O2 a call on  202 or 0344 809 202 (Contract)  4445 or 0344 809 222 (PAYG)

Or you can message O2 on social media on Instagram https://o2uk.co/O2CIG), Facebook ( https://o2uk.co/O2CFB) , Twitter ( https://o2uk.co/O2CTW). 

Guide: A Guide to Deal with Spam/Scam Calls and Text 

Veritas Numquam Perit

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MI5
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Most likely cause is an app sending a handshake to its server.

Apps such as iMessage, WhatsApp etc do this silently and come from allowances when in the UK so are not noticed on bills.

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.

Currently using:
Pixel 7a (O2 & Lyca), One Plus 6 (Sfr), iPhone 12 Pro Max (Vodafone)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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Quackduck
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Thank you, I've now reduced my spend cap to £0 so hopefully won't be affected by any more of these. Maybe some apps won't work right but I'd rather that than run up a large bill! I'm mentioning this as it could be useful info for anyone looking this up in future. Cheers.

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Quackduck
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Thank you, I had noticed that website too which had me worried. I haven't been able to get through to O2 and haven't confirmed if it's a scam or just apps doing a server handshake, but reducing my spend cap to £0 seems to have curbed this for the past few days. I'll update the thread if I discover more.

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Oxonian
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@Quackduck 

I don't think you will hear anything else. They will soon move on to their next "victim". They had a few quid out of you but now will target others. 

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Enlli
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@Quackduck Bad news is spend Caps don't alwaus work when abroad

This is not O2 and we are all customers here similar to yourself and cannot answer account type queries.
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MattyBur
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I'm currently on holiday in Egypt and have so far incurred £2.00 on my bill for phantom texts to this very same number.

 

No record of sending or receiving texts associated with that number (07860 019210) on my phone at all and I've blocked the number, which has had no effect.

 

I don't have the option to limit spending cap on my account so I suppose I'll have to contact o2 and try to dispute the charges when I get home (which look likely to rise).

 

Did anyone get to the bottom of this, and if it is a scam, who benefits from it and how?

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Oxonian
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@MattyBur 

 

There are a couple of guides dealing with this sort of thing :-

 

Guide: A Guide to Deal with Spam/Scam Calls and Text 

Guide: Have you fallen for or been conned into a premium rate scam? What to do next 

 

This appears to be the only thread dealing with this particular scam, so no, I don't think anyone ever got to the bottom of it. @Cleoriff has provided details above as to how to contact O2. 

 

When you do contact O2, please update this thread if any interesting or useful information emerges. 

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MattyBur
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Thanks Oxonian,

 

The various articles and help pages about scam texts or calls relate to instances where you might receive a text or call that asks you for personal info or tries to get you to sign up to something or whatever. 

 

What we have here is a case of charges being applied to my bill relating to a number i don't know, have never called or texted and have never received a call or text from, so completely different. 

 

I did try ' reaching out' to O2 on Twitter messaging, and it appears to be a bot, as it takes hours to reply between messages and then asks for info I've already given it, and I'm still awaiting a response from a few hours ago, so I think I'll give up on that.

 

I also tried their chat on Facebook Messenger, which is obviously a bot again and just (infuriatingly) directs you to their website's FAQs and ignores the actual thing you're asking it. 

 

I'm up to 5 of these phantom SMS charges now, so will try to call O2 when I get home to dispute whatever total it has reached by then, but O2 Customer Services seem to be so awful, I don't hold out much hope!

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