Mobile content company cell phone scams

By | January 17, 2010

Gather round, it’s story time!

Back in August 2008 I upgraded my AT&T plan from a single line to a five-line family plan.  On my second bill (dated Oct 5, 2008), one of the lines showed a charge like this:

“Flycell”… Mblox… $10.66

I called up my sister-in-law and asked her whether she had solicited the purchase.  I didn’t care if she did, but if she had I wanted her to pay for it.  Turns out she hadn’t.

So, I called up AT&T and got them to reverse the charge.  They said they would, and that they had unsubscribed the line from that merchant’s service.

Sounds simple, right?  Well, look at the next bill, dated Nov 5, 2008:

“Flycell”… Mblox… -$10.66 (refund)

“Flycell”… Mblox… $10.66

“Thumbplay”… OpenMarket… $10.66

Well, this isn’t looking good.  They obviously didn’t cancel the subscription the first month, because it was charged again, and now there’s a *second* subscription!  What’s worse, the contact phone number for Mblox and OpenMarket are exactly the same, so it’s the same company.

So I called AT&T again, and they told me they’d refund it and it’d all be taken care of.

Here’s the next bill, dated Dec 5, 2008:

“Thumbplay”… OpenMarket… -$10.66 (refund)

“Thumbplay”… OpenMarket… -$10.66 (refund)

“Thumbplay”… OpenMarket… $10.66

Hmm.  Two refunds for Thumbplay and now two charges for Thumbplay.  Unfortunately at the time I didn’t realize that I never got the refund for the second Flycell charge.

Well, it appeared to have sorted itself out, and sure enough the Jan 5, 2009 bill had no charges from either company.

… and now we get to Jan 5, 2010, this time on my line:

“XXL: Mobile content”… Jamster… $10.67


Note that neither of us ever solicited these subscriptions, neither of us ever gave out our numbers to those “get a free ringtone” websites, and neither of us have any affiliation with any of these companies in any way.

It is, quite simply, blatant theft.  Jamster and friends throw charges at people’s lines (using their established business relationship with various mobile carriers) and just hope they won’t notice.  Some quick googling (“jamster scam” and “mblox scam” both turn up some dirt) shows that this is not uncommon.  Yes, a lot of the people who fall victim to this scam have signed up for Jamster’s “free” ringtones; but a lot of them have not, and that’s where I fall.

The problem here is that AT&T does absolutely no verification to see whether the customer actually did subscribe to these things – for some unfathomable reason, they just trust Jamster.

Well, I’m going to call AT&T tomorrow morning and get them to rectify the situation yet again.  I’m also going to chase this up the org chart as high as I can to get something done about it.

So, have any of you experienced anything similar?

Edit: here’s part two.

12 thoughts on “Mobile content company cell phone scams

  1. Pierce Johnson

    This kind of reminds me of how in the early 90’s third-party long distance companies used to just “take” customers and the local phone companies weren’t doing any verification so you wouldn’t realize you had a different long distance company until the bill came.

  2. tHELMA

    there are $100 ‘s in charges on my mobile…how do I stop this…it says MT MYPNGO provider MBLOX PTY LTD. help!!!

  3. Dan

    You should probably start by calling your cell phone provider, Thelma 😉 If you’re with AT&T, just dial 611 and that will connect you to customer service without using your minutes.

  4. mark

    Same thing here, Dan, and with AT&T.

    I also had to clear off lines and lines of services that I didn’t order or authorize from my first bill after I renewed.

    Theft, plain and simple.

    And because of this blatant theft supported by AT&T and other carriers, I have shut down web access on all 5 phones on my account.

    1. Dan

      I was going to shut off web access on my phones when I got them, but it turns out MMS messages (which I’m paying for) don’t work if data access is turned off.

      But now that I have iPhones that particular issue is mostly moot, thanks to the mandatory unlimited data plans…

  5. Flashing Beacon

    i hate scams wheter it is offline scam or online scams, there are lots of it these days ;:-

  6. Michael

    Yep – January 2012 bill shows a charge for “MoblMedProdUS” subscription at $9.99. Contact information –

    Called AT&T and the nice rep said this was very common. He was reversing the charge and said I shouldn’t see it again.

    I have filed a complaint with the FCC – as everyone with this issue should.

    This all began with a nonsense text message I received back on 12/27/2011 that concluded with instructions “to stop, text STOP to “74248”. Just google that number as a text number and you see the many many reports of this being a scam. I have never requested any additional pay service on my phone.

  7. Ben

    This just happened to me on January 5th, 2012. I didn’t notice the charge until a few days ago when I kept receiving these BS txt msgs 77910 or w/e. I called the company and unsubbed, but the txts kept coming.

    I called AT&T today and they told me if I didn’t reply “STOP” to the number that kept texting me. If you don’t, then the company can subscribe you to their service somehow… mine was from 9.99 charge.

    This is theft and has to be stopped. No where in the txt did it say I was subscribing for anything. And how did they get my number?

    1. Nina

      I had this very same thing happen to me in January of this year. AT&T said it’s very common but reversed the charge. They did say this was a one time courtesy but I also added the parental controls with purchase block so that you have to enter a pin # each time something like this happens and it tries to subscribe you to something.

      I like Micheal filed a complaint with the FCC and encourage others who had the same problem to do the same. Here is the link

  8. jayme

    at&t offers a free parental control called a mobile purchase block that supplies a pin to the customer and requires it be used for mobile purchases to be made but u have to ask for it because some customers dont like the inconvenience of having to verify for a purchase just speak to customer care about it

  9. Bampa

    Continue to get fraudulant charges from They are partners with others that use their service to scam phone subscribers of all the carriers. My carrier, AT&T will remove the charges but I have to call them each month. MBLOX claims to be the billing agent for others but know about and profit from the scamms. AT&T has promised to block charges to my phone from MBLOX but they keep coming. This scam supporting company keeps finding ways to get around the blocks. The number is also on the do not call list but MBLOX ignores that. They are making a tremendous profit from the scams. They seem to be immune to any regulatory or other ineffective controlls. The carriers seem not to be interested in blocking them.

  10. jean

    I also received the following:

    Questions? Contact
    1. Feb 28, 2012 USB******* 9.99

    This is proof that mblox is STILL scamming people. What the @#*:? What do I do?

    Also, beware of the “where” app already installed on your blackberry. They charge 12.98 per month and I didn’t even sign up.


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