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Charging Mobile Purchases

Smartphones and tablets can be used to pay for downloadable or other content, sometimes with the payment appearing on the phone bill at the end of the month rather than going to a card. In this way, mobile devices are effectively like credit cards, and so the same amount of caution needs to be applied to avoid ending up with unwanted charges to repay.

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  • Check costs with your phone network before making premium rate calls. 
  • Always check your phone bills and look out for numbers and calls you do not recognise.

The Risks

  • Calling premium numbers, beginning with 09, 0871, 0872, 0873 or 118, which cost more than most regular landline numbers. You may also see “mobile networks may vary” or “plus network extras” stated in relation to the number – the cost of making calls may be different for each phone provider.
  • Sending short text numbers, beginning with 6xxxx; 7xxxx; or 8xxxx, for example when entering a competition, which carries a premium-rate cost. This could lead to you receiving further text messages that you do not want and which may be charging you.
  • Downloading apps that charge you – they may start free then cost later on.
  • Infection by malware. Just like a computer, smartphones and tablets are vulnerable to viruses and malware attacks, including those which dial premium-rate numbers.  

Staying in Control of Costs

  • Always check with your phone network what they charge on top of making a premium-rate call or sending a premium-rate text.
  • Query any mystery numbers on your phone bill with your phone network – or use PhonepayPlus’s online number checker.
  • Reply to text messages that you do not wish to receive with “STOP” or “STOP ALL”.
  • Always check your phone bill carefully and look out for numbers you do not recognise and calls you did not make.
  • Watch what you click on – always read the terms and conditions in full.

More Information

For more information and advice, visit the PhoneBrain website. PhoneBrain is a campaign educating about paid phone services from regulator PhonepayPlus, a Partner of Get Safe Online.