Texting Messaging Gone Wrong: Scams

Services for Real Estate Pros with HouseFront

By: Chris Brubaker

Text Messaging Reviews

Finishing our two part series on Texting Gone Wrong is scams. Last week we talked about spamming and the negative affects it has on the texting industry (Text Spam). This week we're focusing on texting scams and shady business practices.

Premium Texting

What does text messaging cost? Usually around $0.15 to $0.20 per message sent or received. What if the next time you looked at your bill you saw a message that cost $0.50 or $1.25. This type of SMS is usually labeled as a "Premium Text Message". Services such as your daily horoscope, weather, sports scores or more can cost upwards of a dollar per text, be careful of these services when you sign up.

Text Message ScamsMonthly Fee's

Want a free ringtone, or wallpaper? Simply text the number 1 to 55555.

Advertisements like that are one of the many ways companies get you on premium text messaging rates. If you're not careful, these very same ads can also charge a per month fee on top of premium texting fees, hitting you twice with expensive hidden charges.


Both premium texting and the monthly fees that companies try to pass on to consumers are usually hidden in fine print at the bottom of ads, mixed in with legal jargon to better disguise the charges. Making matters worse are service providers, officially putting the burden on the consumer to cancel or deactivate these services/charges once they are discovered. If you can't remember where or what you signed up for it can be a long cumbersome process, not to mention these companies don't want to be found or make it easy for you to cancel.

It is illegal for companies not to display pricing information if they themselves charge anything for their service besides standard texting fees. "My child did it" is not an excuse carriers or these companies accept, so be weary of those commercials you see on TV with fun animations and the words "TEXT to ####" running across the screen as those are the pinnacle of overcharging for texts. Look before you leap text at the fine print at the bottom of the screen and you might save yourself a couple of bucks.

Bob Sullivan of The Red Tape Chronicles equates the rise in SMS scams to the problem telecoms had in the 90's with 1-900 numbers. If carriers don't keep these companies in check texting could go the way of the 900 number, riddled with scams and sneaky services charges.

HouseFront's SMS service is completely free of charge, Text any address to ‘HOUSE' or 46873 and only standard text messaging rates apply. Companies like HouseFront offer consumers innovative text messaging services that provide convenience and access to information while on the go. Spamming and texting scams effect consumers trust in text messaging, dwindling innovation and use.

For a great list of innovative (spam/scam free) texting companies check out our Text Thursday Series.

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HouseFront is a real estate search and house value tool, providing real estate professionals and buyers and sellers with valuable information on over 100 million properties via HouseFront.com and by text messaging any address to ‘HOUSE’ or 46873.
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Comments (4)

Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.
GREAT info - thanks for posting this.  This is information every consumer should have. 
Mar 20, 2008 07:33 AM
Stephen Joos & Chris Brubaker- HouseFront
HouseFront - Denver, CO

Susan ~ I totally agree.  Especially for kids because they are getting phones at younger and younger ages only to be advertised to on TV by these scammy companies.  Teens + Texting Scam = $$$ and bad news for parents.

- Chris

Mar 20, 2008 07:36 AM
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
I don't have a plan on my phone for texting so it costs me for each one I get.
Mar 22, 2008 01:25 AM
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results
Chris - This post should be on every parents must read list.
Mar 24, 2008 02:15 AM