Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Internet Scam Warning

I imagine that all Internet users at one time or another have experienced a browser popup claiming that they have won one of the many technological baubles that seem to dominate our culture, be it an IPad, Ipod, or whatever. Recently I decided to click on a claim that I had won an Ipad, just to see where it would take me. My advice is simple: resist the urge.

It initially seemed innocent enough, a rather challenging IQ test (the kind of test I generally resist taking, lest they confirm my worst cognitive fears). After taking it, I had to enter my cellphone number to receive the results. What followed were two more questions, on the cellphone, to which I did not respond.

We then went away for a week to Cuba, having left the cellphone behind since it doesn't work there. Upon my return, I was appalled to find that I had insufficient balance left on the prepaid to make a call. Upon investigating the balance online, I saw that I had received several more messages from the Internet company that had provided the IQ test, each with a charge of $2.

I called my cellphone provider to ask it to block the messages and to restore the funds to my account. While they did the latter with alacrity, they said that I was listed as subscribing to a service from skill2thrill.com, and provided me with a number to call to halt the emails. The number is 1-866-257-4586.

All is now restored and the messages have stopped, but what I most object to is the fact that there was nothing obvious that I saw on the site stating that by providing my cellphone number, I was in fact entering into a contract with skill2thrill.com

Personally, I would like to see some kind of CRTC regulation governing such misleading and unethical practices.

Just a word to the wise from someone who should have known better.

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