An SMS competition or SMS trivia scam usually arrives as a text message and may encourage you to enter a competition for a great prize (like an mp3 player). The message (or sometimes, an advertisement) could also invite you to take part in a trivia competition, with a great prize on offer if you answer a certain number of questions correctly.
The scammers make money by charging extremely high rates for the messages you send, and any further messages they send to you. These charges could be as high as $4 for each message sent and/or received.
With trivia scams, the first lot of questions will be very easy. This is meant to encourage you to keep playing. However, the last one or two questions that you need to answer to claim your ‘prize’ could be very difficult or impossible to answer correctly (and may even require you to guess a random number).
Contact your mobile phone company to ask about the number—they will know if it comes from a premium rate service. You could end up with a huge phone bill if you engage in a text message conversation with a number that charges you for messages sent as well as received.
If you did not want to participate and you receive more messages, make sure you tell your phone company that the charges are not being made with your permission.
It’s best not to reply to any text messages you receive if you don’t recognise the number—it only shows that you are interested and you could then receive many more similar messages.
If you are interested, make sure you understand how much it will cost you and how you can stop receiving messages. If you want to be extra safe, ask your telephone company to put a bar on premium rate services (190 numbers) from and to your phone.
If you have received such a text message, or if you have replied to the text message and you now realise it is a scam, you can report it through the SCAMwatch website and to your phone company. You should also spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.