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Text-Message Spam Continues to Grow Around the World

SMS Spam Sweeping the U.K.

According to the Observer, mobile phone owners in the U.K. are battling the latest spam scourge to sweep across the globe: SMS spam. Though not as pervasive as the e-mail variety, spam text messages usually attempt to lure people into signing up for expensive services that offer adult materials or promise cash settlements from accidents. The problem has been pervasive for over a year in places like China, and it's recently become a big enough problem in the States that the U.S. Senate last month proposed legislation to ban text-message spam.

Unfortunately, text-message spam doesn't stop unless the recipient actively opts out of future correspondence, which means replying to the original spam text (something that can cost around $0.15 per message if you don't have a texting plan). For those receiving the messages, however, there are avenues of recourse. The New York Times recently explained how to block such texts through your mobile carrier (usually something as simple as checking a few boxes online). If you're one of our British readers, you can file a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which regulates electronic data privacy. The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will meanwhile handle complaints of misleading or false advertising.

Other than filing complaints with the proper authorities, the best course of action is to ignore the spam texts. After all, there is no guarantee that requesting your removal from a text-messaging list will work. In fact, the misleading nature of the texts may lead you to believe you're opting out when you're actually signing up for unwanted, expensive services. [From: Observer, via Textually.org]

Weirdest Techie Heists and Scams

    Elderly Amish Man Caught on Film With Prostitute, Blackmailed
    When a 75-year-old Amish widower slept with a prostitute, he -- we feel certain -- felt pretty bad about it the next morning. As if that guilt weren't enough for the old man, the prostitute and her boyfriend demanded $67,000 from him, claiming that they had filmed the scene with wall-mounted cameras and would upload the recording to the Internet. The pair was later arrested and, we can only imagine, the Amish man abhorred technology more than ever.

    Bank Robber Gets Away With the Help of Craiglist
    In October, a bank robber -- wearing a safety vest, blue shirt, face mask and goggles -- eluded police with the help of Craiglist. Just outside the bank, while the robbery was in progress, stood a group of men who were responding to a Craiglist day labor opportunity. As the advertisement required, they were all wearing safety vests, blue shirts, face masks and goggles.

    Nude New Zealander Arrested After Responding to Fake Sexy Text Message
    Late in 2007, a Wellington, New Zealand man received a racy text message from two anonymous "ladies," giving him only an address and a request that he show up naked. Well, he indeed showed up naked... at the home of one appalled, unsuspecting New Zealander. Both the nude Romeo and the sadistic texter were arrested, though neither were prosecuted.

    Fake Craiglist Ad Costs Man Most of What He Owns
    Last Spring, a post appeared on an Oregon Craigslist board stating that the owner of a specific house was leaving all of his worldly possessions (still in said house) to whoever wanted them. When homeowner Robert Salisbury rushed home -- on a tip from a woman suspicious about the offer of a free horse -- he found his house being ransacked by 30 strangers. We suggest he take that horse and collect some vengeance Clint Eastwood-style.

    17-Year-Old Jailed for Stealing Virtual 'Furniture'
    When a 17-year-old Dutch boy hacked into several accounts on the Second Life-style site 'Habbo' in 2007, the the law got involved. The boy was discovered to have stolen $5,800 worth of virtual furniture and knick-knacks. Apparently, crime -- whether actual or virtual -- does not pay.

    Phishers Going After Your Phones in New 'Vishing' Trend
    Over the past year, sneaky spammers have begun to forsake the worn-out territory of e-mail in favor of cell phones' fertile frontier. The result? "Vishing." Get it? Voice mail + phishing. It might be more ominous if it didn't sound like a James Bond villain saying, "Wishing."

    Burglars Break Into Restaurant, Steal HDTV, Leave Money / Food Behind
    Around Halloween of last year, a truckload of thieves drove into -- that's right, into -- a Pennsylvania Mexican restaurant, where they -- apparently uninterested in the cash register -- stole a mid-grade 47-inch HDTV and fled the scene. We've all heard about how this generation is lacking in ambition, but this generation's thieves, too?

Tags: scams, security, spam, text-message spam, Text-messageSpam, texting, textmessagespam, top, uk

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