Website masking as Android Market...very possibly fraudulent SMS setup...

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by thumper300zx, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. thumper300zx

    thumper300zx Member

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    Here's what happened to me -- was wondering if anyone else has had something similar occur.

    I have not been charged yet, but I warned Verizon about this and hopefully they will come to the rescue. I was playing Words with Friends on my Droid and accidentally clicked on an AD link within the application -- I didn't even know I had done it. I had just been on the Android Market updating Words with Friends, and the ad link brought me to apparently a webpage that MASKED itself as the Android Market. So I thought I maybe hit a back button or something and just ended up back on there.

    The app looked fun, and was FREE, so I installed. However, it was NOT an Android app. Once the app was installed, I found out it SOMEHOW had scoured my phone and pulled my phone number. I NEVER provided this information. THEN, I got a text message!!! Already I know something bad has happened. The message says to reply HELP for help, and STOP to stop the 'subscription'. What subscription? I never subscribed to ANYTHING!!!

    Then I read up on it a bit. Apparently, replying to STOP = FOUR DIGIT code ("PIN"), which they DID NOT INFORM ME OF in any way or form when downloading their APPLICATION. From what I've read, they will now try to use it against me as a my VERIFYING a subscription. Absolutely CRIMINAL. After I texted STOP, they replied letting me know "Your Cellarea subscription is cancelled. For more support, email "XXXX" or call "XXXX". I had apparently downloaded the app from a site called morphzone.me, so I looked up that and Cellarea. There have been other people that had problems with them. Morphzone has also had apps removed from the Android Market, apparently due to fraud and dishonest advertising of their terms.

    How cell phone companies continue to allow such charges is beyond me. I am horribly upset and just wish we could send in a Seal team to take care of these people like Osama Bin Laden. If I get a charge on my Verizon Bill I will go absolutely ballistic...and I'm pretty sure at this point it's going to happen. I should never have replied with STOP, however, they already had my cell information so I don't know it would've made a difference. PISSED OFF!!!

    From their site:

    "(a) Subscription Service. By entering your cell phone number on the Website, you consent to receive a text message containing a PIN code. By entering the PIN code on the Website, you acknowledge you are subscribing to WWW.MORPHZONE.ME's text alert subscription service. Subscribing provides you with monthly alerts. WWW.MORPHZONE.ME subscribers may cancel by texting STOP to any message they receive All plans are subject to WWW.MORPHZONE.ME's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, available on our Website. To get help, text HELP to the message you receive or contact Customer Care.
    By registering for a subscription service, you authorize WWW.MORPHZONE.ME to bill you through your mobile telephone carrier. Message and Data Rates May Apply. You confirm you are the owner of the phone or have permission of the owner to incur these charges. Do not enter your personal PIN Code unless you have read, understand and agree to these terms and conditions. Monthly Club subscriptions are billed the recurring applicable subscription fee each month until you cancel the subscription. Monthly subscribers are billed on a 30-day cycle, which begins on the first day you sign up for the subscription and ends 30 days thereafter (your "Billing Cycle"). Your mobile phone bill will be charged on the first day of each Billing Cycle. You agree that normal carrier charges (e.g. WAP, MMS, GPRS, and SMS) may apply. Unused monthly credits do not roll-over to the next month’s Billing Cycle. You agree that if any attempt to bill you for your subscription fails for any reason, including non-payment by you or errors on the part of your mobile telephone company, WWW.MORPHZONE.ME reserves the right to re-bill you for any outstanding fees."

    Again, I NEVER agreed to anything. NEVER agreed to any subscription. There was nothing during install, etc that asked me to enter anything special. The app installed and sucked up my phone #, then I got the text. And NOTHING on their site says anything about Cellarea.com.
     
  2. thumper300zx

    thumper300zx Member

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    More information -- see comment (quoted below) on this site:

    Verizon files lawsuit over Premium SMS fraud | PhoneDog


    "Well done Verizon for taking on these slimey roaches!! The same lawsuit must be filed against MyToneClub.com / MbMobile.Com. They are obviously scammers as they subscribe victims automatically through an Android App which launches a website without any user intervention, after which the victims receive a PREMIUM SMS charging them $9.99 to their Verizon Bill. No authorization or confirmation, just a TXT message from 82235 saying "Morphzone.me product alerts... $9.99/mo Reply STOP to end Msg&Data Rates May Apply."
    I discovered a month later when the billing cycle finished that I had still been charged $9.99, called Verizon, and they refunded the charge, but companies like this must be stopped, just like the ZERO TOLERANCE that we New Yorkers have to live with, these snakes are making millions scamming innocent people who just want to have a mobile phone and don't want to spend hours on the phone making claims and being scared of having their money or identity stolen wherever they go. PLS Verizon, be aggressive in enforcing a set of rigorous standards for companies which hide behind anonymous domains and dead end numbers, standards that force them to disclose prices and conditions and get agreement before even charging a single cent! Don't let them scare people away from having a mobile phone. Also, WARN new subscribers, just like the FBI does, that there are scammers out there, and they are easy to block if you have Premium SMS Blocking enabled by default, and only allow it when the account holders explicitly UNBLOCKS it."
     
  3. SILVER COUPE

    SILVER COUPE Active Member

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    last years i somehow inadvertantly subscribed to something as well. cant remember whatr exactly i informed verizon when i was billed $19.99 i think it was. i caled the company and had them remove the charges, then i went into my phone setting and blocked their text messages. no more problems since.
     
  4. thumper300zx

    thumper300zx Member

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    I'll be getting a hold of Verizon today. I decided to wait to block PREMIUM MESSAGING until I speak with Verizon, but will immediately during the call or after.
     
  5. takeshi

    takeshi Silver Member

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    If it wasn't an Android app then you wouldn't have been able to install it. Did you mean to say "Market app"?

    What permissions did it request?
     
  6. thumper300zx

    thumper300zx Member

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    Correct -- it's an Android App, but was not on the official Android Market (the page had an interface that looked liked it).

    It downloaded an .apk -- I installed it. I guess that should've been the tip off, but I didn't know any apps could pull your phone number and text you.

    The app doesn't even work -- supposed to be a morphing program, take pics and morphs them. I guess I'm glad it doesn't work because who knows what the heck they'd do with your photos!
     
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