Watching Out for You - Texting Scam Hits Region 8

June 12, 2009 --

"My bill was $210! I almost passed out!"

That was the reaction from Joy Vauble of Jonesboro as she opened last month's cell phone bill.

"I called the phone company and they said I was signed up to receive text messages and every time I was opening a message it would charge me $9.99. I knew I had been receiving random text messages that were just mixed up letters and numbers but I wasn't sure what they were."

Her cell phone provider traced it back to a message she received from someone on Facebook.

"It was a an I.Q. test. So I accepted it and took the test and then you get your score through a text message."

And that's where the scam starts.

"The phone company told me I opened myself up to receiving all of these messages just by putting my number on that quiz."

But she isn't alone as a victim. Dede Long, who works in the same office as Vauble, says she also taken by the scam.

"I switched from one cell phone company to another. So when I saw the monthly charge of $9.99, I thought it was part of my service. Because on my bill it's labeled a Premium Charge. But the second month, I knew I needed to call."

With the help of her cell phone provider, Long was able to narrow it down to a quiz she had received from a friend in her email.

"I took the quiz, I think it was a mind test. But I took it and you got your score through a text message. And as soon as you open that message, you've opened yourself up and agreed to this monthly charge of $9.99."

Both ladies were able to get the charges removed, but they want to warn cell phone users of this scam.

"I don't think there is a way to prevent this from happening. It's a scam, it's just a scam. I felt pretty stupid. I just thought, how do you open yourself up to those kinds of things?"

"Just be careful. Don't open up any test messages unless you know what it is. I mean just go ahead and delete it, don't open up anything. I felt like a dummy for opening all of those."