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Unsolicited text messages could be costly

Spammers have targeted email accounts for years. Now, many people are getting spam on their cell phones, too. An unsolicited text message may seem harmless, but it can be costly.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Spammers have targeted email accounts for years. Now, many people are getting spam on their cell phones, too. An unsolicited text message may seem harmless, but it can be costly.

Unlimited text messages help Newschannel 9 photographer Eddie Jones stay in touch at work and at home. But, lately he's getting more spam. At first, he ignored them.

"A month later, I get my Verizon bill and there is a $9.99 charge and I'm saying well I have two girls, maybe they've done something. So, I called Verizon,” Jones said.

The fee was tracked to an offer from GossipRevealed.com, the latest Hollywood news for $9.99 a month. But, Jones had no interest and never replied.

"I was amazed that somebody could text message me and charge my phone bill without me knowing about it,” Jones continued.

The text offered to unsubscribe Jones if replied STOP. But, Verizon spokesperson John O'Malley cautions: "We tell our customers to never open a text message from an unknown source. It's like getting spam emails, opening one could lead to getting a virus."

Verizon has taken legal action against a number of spammers that have targeted customers. They credited Jones' account for $9.99 and blocked GossipRevealed.com from sending more texts and more fees.

O'Malley encourages other customers to follow the same path, "If customers get a spam message, let us know so we can 1). Credit their account and 2). Aggressively dig down to find out who sent the message and do whatever we can to get them to stop."

Jones will be watching his bill closely from now on and he suggests others do the same.

"I have automatic payments. So, it comes out of my checking account automatically," Jones said. "If you are on a paperless bill...then you wouldn't know about the charges unless you go on and check it."

Verizon offers a page on their website to help customers set up safeguards to block future spam messages.
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