Free Ringtone: Phone Scam Overview
Though ringtone download texts are less common than they used to be, it's still a scam that affect many people each year. This type of phone fraud is typically referred to as cramming. Cramming is when unwanted charges are added to your monthly phone bill without your knowledge.
Common services which are often crammed onto phone bills are free ringtones, daily horoscopes, weekly jokes, and other types of subscription texts.
What Is the Free Ringtone Phone Scam?
You may have gotten a text in the past advertising a free ringtone, daily horoscope, or some other service. Usually the text will instruct you to press a number to add yourself to the subscription or press another to remove yourself from the text list. Occasionally, the text might include a URL to a website for you to click and download whatever it is the text is offering.
If you engage with the text or click the link you could be signing yourself up for some pricey and unwanted services. At the end of the month you might see some unusual and mysterious charges on your monthly phone bill.
How to Avoid This Scam
The best way to avoid this scam is by not responding to spam texts and instead blocking text messages that seem like spam. Here are a few other things that you can do to protect yourself:
Check your monthly phone bill.
Always be sure to check your monthly phone bill for any suspicious charges. If you find any, get in touch with your carrier to ask them about what the charges are for.
Don't click strange URLs.
Watch out for strange URLs in text messages. These URLs could be leading you to a phishing site or installing malware on your phone. It's a good rule of thumb to not click any URLs that appear in suspicious texts.
Don't give your cell phone number out.
Burner. Apps like these will give you a temporary phone number to use to sign up for contests and surveys.
How to Report This Scam
If you find that your phone bill is being crammed by some sort of subscription text service, be sure to report it to your service provider and the FTC. Your service provider should be able to remove whatever it is that you're being charged from in the future.
You can also report text scams in our free caller ID app for iPhone or our reverse phone lookup website. By searching the number in our app or on our website you can check for suspicious behavior and also leave your own feedback on a spam phone number.