Barring Third Party Charges

Step 4 – Protecting yourself from further scams

Update 10/04/2018

O2 now claim to be able to apply a ‘charge to bill’ bar which is effective against Payforit.

Update 29/03/18  Three inform me that they are unable to implement a ‘charge to bill’ bar for their customers.

There is a lot of confusion about what is possible to avoid third party charges to your ‘phone account.

Barring premium rate texts is sometimes proposed as a way of stopping these scams. It won’t work. It will prevent you sending premium rate texts, and may prevent you from seeing incoming premium rate texts. It will not stop you from being charged for incoming premium rate texts.

To stop these charges, you need a bar on third party charges to your account. At the time or writing it would appear that Vodafone,O2 and EE can put this bar on your account,  while Three can’t (or won’t?). If you have discovered otherwise, please comment on this post and let us know what your network can or can’t do.

You can test whether you have a charge to account bar in place by using a bus information service as follows – it shouldn’t cost more than about 25p:

Send a text to 87287.  In the body of the text just put 54321

It’ll cost your standard network text charge to send the text.
And another 12p to receive the reply.

Check your balance before you send the text

The test is, do you also get charged another 12p, and will a reply arrive.

Do let us know how you get on if you try this test. If your network has successfully applied a bar, please leave a comment so that this post can be updated.

79 Replies to “Barring Third Party Charges”

  1. How do I know if the network applied a bar?
    Here is what I received:

    243 Waterloo due
    68 West Norwood 5 min
    91 Trafalgar Sq 6 min
    188 North Greenwich 6 min
    168 Old Kent Road 7 min
    1 Canada Water 8 min

    1. This would suggest that third party charges are not barred on your account. You should be able to confirm this by checking your account balance. Which network are you with, and which bar did you ask for?

  2. GiffGaff don’t do a ‘charge to bill’ bar as it is a PAYG service but will credit PAYG balance back to your card to avoid further charges being taken – this is OK if you have a monthly recurring bundle and just need the PAYG balance for out of bundle costs – 0845, calls/texts abroad etc.

    I asked them to leave just over £3 in the PAYG balance – not enough for the scammers but enough for a few of those out of bundle costs while I got it sorted.

    Here’s an extract of their agent response:

    “Mike here again, I’m afraid that as giffgaff is a pay as you go network you do not have a bill with us and so we are not able to apply such a bar as there is no bill to apply it to.

    However what I can do is remove the airtime credit from your account and refund this back to your card until you have this resolved, as if there is no airtime on your account then charges cannot be taken from it.

    If you would like me to do this, please get back in touch to confirm.”

    1. Hi Nick

      Thanks for this information. I will add it to the information I give to GiffGaff customers who fall victim to one of these scams.


    2. I’m afraid they are giving you the run around and their response is a brush off because they all get a rake off for those premium numbers that pass through their network. I am with Tesco mobile – 10 years, also pay as you go . I was scammed with a £4.50 bill and got straight onto them. It has nothing to do with your account, they do not apply a block on ‘charge to bill’ on your account, they apply it to your telephone number.
      As your service provider, they have full control over who accesses that number – even you. As an example, if you upset them enough, they may contact you and say: “We don’t like your attitude, we suggest you go and find yourself another service provider. You will not be able to make outgoing calls or receive incoming calls from your existing telephone number until you transfer it to another provider.” That’s it, and you won’t.

      When I asked Tesco for my money back (£4.50), they initially told me to take it up with the company involved. BestVIPGames operate out of Honk Kong – how you going to do that? This made me a little cross so I told them in no uncertain terms I would make life very difficult for them if they didn’t refund my money, which they then imediately ageed to do.

      They also denied they take a rake off – they lied to me. They also initially denied they could even put a block on my number – they lied again.

      When I had finished with them, after threatening to report them to the appropriate authorities, they were so rattled, they gave me a full refund… they then sent me this text …

      Tescoe Mobile: Thank you, we’ve added the premium rate bar.

      Finally, the best way to combat this type of fraud is this……

      Go here …….

      and fill out the form as follows ……

      Name: Fraud Buster


      Mobile: 123456789

      Country: Put in any country you like

      Message: Fraudbusters are going to shut your fraudulent operation down. When they do, you/Inter Inventory Co. Ltd. will be faced with fines amounting to many millions of dollars.

      Inter Inventory Co Ltd. are the company in Hong Kong (part of Bestvipgames) who operate the fraud.

      If it were possible to get 5,000 (or more) people to do this, it might make them think again.

  3. I have today discovered that too have been charged £4.50pw for a service that I know nothing about. I immediately contacted 3 mobile (my provider) who have been very helpful in so much as they have credited me with all money taken from my account and placed a stop on this scam company. BUT they have said they cannot stop Payforit allowing these payments in future from other scammers. I have raised an official complaint with 3 Mobile who are escalating it to the Ombudsman on my behalf. I am also going to be writing to my MP to raise this issue as Payforit are a conduit for illegal payments and this should be stopped. I will come back with any results I might get from this escalation and let other know how I got on.

    1. Further to my comments yesterday on this scam, I now have a bit more information. The company I apparently subscribed to is called Jam Jar Mobile registered in Bury, Greater Manchester. I cannot find any website for this company and they do not have an app so how I am supposed to contact them to get my money’s worth is beyond me!! I have been in contact with the PSA who were able to give me an email address for Jam Jar Mobile but other than that, they have confirmed that I am NOT able to opt out of this Payforit platform which I think is disgraceful. I would be really interested to hear from others who have managed to do this with their mobile provider. I have contacted my MP as I feel so strongly about this.

    2. This is exactly what happened to me this month, I to spoke to Three who are going to credit me as a one off.
      But why is this happening, I NEVER subscribed to Jamjar and I don’t know what or who they are.
      This is just theft.
      I have written to Three and await their reply, I may also contact my MP.
      This has to be stopped.

      1. Hi Brian

        JamJar are a service which has resulted in a number of complaints recently. I doubt that you’ll get very far with Three. They were asked on Twitter a couple of days ago whether they planned to offer consumers any protection from ‘Payforit’ scams and the answer was a definite No!
        It is disgraceful that Three expose their customers to a system as vulnerable to fraud as ‘Payforit’ without any facility to opt-out.
        Make sure you file a complaint with the Phone-paid Services Authority. They do their best to discourage complaints, but it is important, if we want to stop these scams, that there is evidence of the scale of the problem.
        In the meantime, please try to do your best to raise the profile of this issue, and keep us informed of any progress with your case.

      2. I have had a look at this company Jam Jar who were stealing the money from me and this is what I found. Cut and pasted…

        BL9 5BJ
        (1,389 companies also use this postcode, this might be a mail forwarding service address)

        It seems to be a new company started in August 2017 run by

        Directors and Secretaries
        Lyndsay Danson

        Cannot find a number or email to find out why and what I was paying for.

        And yes I will also be asking PSA about this.

        Makes me so annoyed, so keep up your good work

        1. Update..
          I found the number on my bill and decided to call it. Got a man with an American accent saying press 1 to stop the service (WHAT SERVICE!!) or 2 to talk to a member of the team, after a few minutes it went dead?

          1. Hi Brian

            I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve found that getting any kind of sensible response from these so-called service providers is difficult. They do just enough to keep the regulator happy. They have to have a phone line which is answered, but that is all they do.
            You need to go back to PSA and tell them that you have been unable to talk to anyone at the ‘service provider’. The problem is that most people would have given up by now – and that is why these scams are profitable.
            If PSA give you the run-around don’t forget to leave a review on Facebook
            Hope you manage to get a resolution


    3. Angela

      I have had a completely different liaison with 3. They kept repeating that this MUST be me and that payforit services are my responsibility. When asked to barr payforit services, they are unable to so this, nor will they try.

      I find this very frustrating as regardless of the controls we have in life, i am simply unable to stop additional charges on my mobile bill…

      1. Hi Tim

        Three do seem to be inconsistent, to say the least, in the way that they deal with these issues.

        I suspect that to some extent it depends on how much money is involved. If the amount is small, it is easier for them to pay out and keep you as a customer.

        Three have confirmed, on numerous occasions, that they are unable ( or unwilling?) to put a charge to bill bar on customers’ accounts.
        There is some confusion here. Some people put a Premium Rate bar on their account, thinking it will stop these charges. It won’t. Similarly, if you put a spending cap on your account it won’t stop these charges as they aren’t included in the cap.

        Three customer support seem to be confused themselves, so it doesn’t surprise me that incorrect information is being given.

        I trust that you will not let the scammers win and will pursue your losses using the approaches suggested on this website. Feel free to contact me again if further help or advice is required.


  4. Hi Angela
    You’re not alone in feeling strongly about this issue and contacting your MP is a great idea. We need to raise the profile of this issue. It is quite outrageous that the mobile networks are unable to exercise any control over who takes money from your account. If you ask your bank to stop a direct debit, they will do it. Payforit has been exempted from the legal provisions which apply to other payment processors, and that has to be wrong.
    Jam Jar Mobile is registered at Jam Jar Mobile, Fernhills Business Center, Foerster Chambers, Todd Street, Bury, Gtr Manchester, United Kingdom, BL9 5BJ. There is only one director: Lyndsay Danson of Woodlands, Lambrigg, Kendal, Cumbria, England, LA8 0DH.
    I have been unable to find a company website. They use shortcode 83463, which is operated by a payment intermediary called Tap2Bill. The registered address for Tap2Bill is: 5 St. John’s Lane, Farringdon, London, England, EC1M 4BH. details of the directors of Tap2Bill can be found here:
    The phone numbers for Tap2Bill are 0333 003 0599 and 01494 750500.
    You can leave a review of Tap2Bill on Facebook and on
    You can also leave a review of PSA on Facebook if, like me, you feel they are a waste of space!

  5. Received an unsolicited text today saying I’d subscribed to at £3 per week. Then saw on my Vodafone bill that I’d already been charged for the last 5 weeks! Called Vodafone who put a premium rate incoming/outgoing text bar in place to ‘stop this happening in future’. Fortunately I found this super website and read it wouldn’t work to stop charges to bill. So I successfully applied a ‘charge to bill’ bar to my account online – but why isn’t this *disabled* by default??

    Spent more time reading up on the subject: contacted PSA who insisted I contacted Nuyoo’s associated mobile company (SB7 Mobile) to request proof of my consent to the service. PSA will only act if no reply in 5 working days. Read the PSA Code of Practice and it is clear that this does NOT have customer fairness at its heart. Instead it seems content to have the customer chase unknown 3rd parties for refunds of unauthorised payments facilitated by their own mobile network operator’s billing platform.

    Direct debit mandates don’t work to these rules – nor should charge to bill. I will follow Angela’s excellent example and work to publicise this completely inadequate, scam-prone ‘service’ in an effort to get changes made and ensure that others do not fall victim to unauthorised charges that are very difficult to recover.

    1. Hello Bob.
      It will be interesting to see what evidence the company are able to produce of you having subscribed to their service. I am unhappy with the way that you have been fobbed off by PSA. You need to insist that you did not knowingly sign up. If the rules are being followed, this should be all but impossible to sign up unwittingly! One of the problems is that it is not always possible to tell the difference between a sign up carried out by a malicious script and a genuine sign up.
      I think that you are entitled to tell PSA, regardless of any evidence that Nuyoo may try to produce, that you do not accept that you signed up to this service and that you expect them to investigate on that basis. Otherwise they are calling you a liar!
      PSA are swamped with these complaints and are keen to reduce the numbers so as to ‘protect the industry’. Please be insistent that they investigate. Nuyoo are one of the companies that crop up regularly in relation to these ‘Payforit’ scams.
      Anything you can do to publicise the problems with Payforit would be really appreciated. As you rightly point out the networks should be taking responsibility for fraudulent transactions made through ‘Payforit’ and not passing the buck back to consumers.
      Don’t forget to leave a review of Phone-paid Services Authority here:
      Please keep me informed of any progress with your case.


  6. Thanks Paul – certainly will keep you updated. Lady at PSA was clearly not to be moved despite my repeated statements that I had not signed up with Nuyoo.
    Interesting comment re malicious script…Kaspersky is installed on my Android. Make of that what you will!!
    Got the feeling that Vodafone customer service were readily accepting of my use of the word scam…but equally adamant that it was down to me to sort a refund. Did eventually get a goodwill credit equal to the £15 of Nuyoo unauthorised charges but it cost me quite some time and two escalations to get there. They also said they had contacted Nuyoo on my behalf to request cancellation (something I hoped I had already done).

    1. Yes, Bob
      The customer service staff at the mobile networks must get fed up with angry customers calling them up about these scams. Most people find them sympathetic, but they still have to stick to the company line.
      If PSA continue to reject your request for an investigation, I suggest that you invoke their complaints procedure.
      There is no excuse for them not registering your complaint and it is not necessary to wait for a response for Nuyoo to do so. You say you were signed up without your knowledge and consent and that should be enough. I know that there are a number of complaints about this company, so I’m sure they are trying to keep the numbers down to avoid having to investigate. Please don’t give up – that’s what they are relying on!

  7. This is completely absurd. It is absurd that our personal information is shared with criminals while browsing on 4G. Three and other phone companies directly or indirectly share revenue and complicit of these criminal organizations. They rely on the fact that nobody will spend substantial time and effort to expose this because of the small amounts being stolen. This is apparently all legal, cannot be stopped, and the existing authorities do nothing. Somebody needs to make a big deal out of it.

    1. I couldn’t agree more! It is time that action was taken to close down the insecure ‘Payforit’ system. It seems ridiculous that if consumers want to have a mobile phone, they are needlessly exposed to fraud. Please do all you can to raise the profile of this issue.


  8. Me and two friends have all suffered from this scam. My friend had £200 billed in £4.50 increments for a service she never subscribed to. I got a £4.50 payforit charge when I activated a series of ‘redirects’ on an advert on a ‘normal’ website. In both cases, we were refunded after complaining to PhonePayPlus but I’m still out of pocket for my ‘STOP’ text and my valuable time.
    This type of scam MUST be stopped as there must be thousands of people unknowingly being billed for ‘services’ they never asked for. In most cases the ‘service’ is a regular set of ‘gifstickers’ or even porn pics.
    I can see in a few years the phone companies having to refund their customers like the PPI scandal.
    Tesco mobile claim they cannot activate a charge to bill bar yet posts above state that O2 can. Tesco runs on the O2 network so has anyone successfully blocked payforit payments?
    It should be the case that when you sign up for a mobile contract you should be able to click on a button:-
    ‘Would you like to activate Payforit payments so that any company can indiscriminately take payemnts for so-called services when they feel like it or if you accidentally sign-up for something’ – Y or N.
    By the way, PhonePayPlus, although sympathetic and helpful, stated that in my case and my friends’ case they would take no further action. This is beacuse the companies eventually paid up (after repeatedly promising to and then only when PhonePayPlus intervened).
    I guess for every £1 they refund, they’re still raking in another £99 so a dedicated phoneline to refund the few complainers is a small price to pay.

    1. Hi Tom
      I couldn’t agree more that these scams need to be stopped, and anything you can do to help raise the profile of the problem would be greatly appreciated.
      O2 CLAIM to be able to put a ‘charge to bill’ bar on your account, which should stop ‘Payforit’ charges.EE and Vodafone make the same claim, but as far as I know these claims have not been tested. GiffGaff at one stage assured me they could block ‘Payforit’ charges, but it was later proved that they could not! It is ridiculous that consumers who want a mobile phone contract are exposed to the high risk of fraud associated with ‘Payforit’.
      I believe that ‘Payforit’ should be abandoned as there are many safer payment systems available. However, realistically I believe that there are two steps which could be taken. You have identified the first of these – to make ‘Payforit’ a mechanism requiring opt-in.
      A second improvement would be to require two-factor authentication for all subscription services, so that a PIN number has to be input to authorise such transactions. The mechanism already exists for subscriptions in excess of £4.50 per week, so it would be easy to extend it to lower value transactions. I wonder why so many of these scams are for exactly £4.50 per week!
      Make sure, even if you get a refund, that your complaint to PSA (the new name for PhonePayPlus) IS registered and that you get a case number. The fact that you got a refund is irrelevant, the company who charged you were in contravention of the Code Of Practice, simply by charging without consent. I am currently collecting details of cases where the PSA refuse to register a complaint simply because a refund has been made.
      PSA are funded by the ‘industry’ so are reluctant to act, but the figures for complaints are recorded and it is important that they are not allowed to refuse to record valid complaints. If you are unhappy with PSA don’t forget to leave a review on Facebook!

  9. Paul,

    Many thanks for your comments. Having fallen victim to this scam and seeing your website, I am very eager to help spread the word and help in bringing the PayForit debacle to end. There really is no place in a modern decent society for a ‘service’ that charges like this. Like you say, two stage authentication would sort it out.

    Paul – do you have access to my email address? If so, please feel free to contact me directly as I am happy to give you my Phonepayplus reference number and chat about the matter.

    Kind regards


  10. Hi all

    My daughter (she is 12) has been charged £4.50/week since Feb for footy tipsters & £3.00/week again since Feb for Fitmate.

    Her phone is on the Three network. I have called the two 03300 numbers in the texts and spoke to the same person (George) at Tap2Bill. He said his team would consider refunding me! yeah right.

    I rang Three immediately, they will not refund me as they see it as my (daughters) fault, So I cancelled my sim with them there and then but 30 days are needed by them (what a sodding con) so im hoping we dont get another month of Payforit’s (I have also texted STOP).

    So I went on a quest to find a mobile operator who could stop ALL Payforit’s.

    Thankfully I found that EE will place a barr on ‘Charge To Mobile’ AKA ‘Charge to Account’ or as ive discovered tonight on this excellent site ‘Charge to Bill’ which covers Payforit’s.

    Its cost me 100’s and I cant believe it’s legal. The guy I spoke to at three basically called mew a liar, he said no operator could stop Payforits, I explained I had a ‘Charge To Mobile’ barr placed on my other EE line and he just went quiet.

    Three take a cut (as would be expected) from these Payforits so they will tell you to your face its impossible to stop the charge (the guy I spoke to was VERY rude) But they are lying, Pyforits can be stopped. It should be by default but that would mean lost profit for big greedy Three!

    Never again!

    Its disgusting that we have to fight this con, whatever happened to fair play, this stinks and I will NEVER use Three again.

    The other companies involved were Red Box Mobile and LionTel – pure scum, tricking and charging a 12 year old girl, well done you greedy Ba$#….rd$

    1. Please don’t let these scammers win. If they refuse to refund, follow the steps suggested here:
      I’m afraid Three are probably the worst network for Payforit scams. You’ve made a good choice with EE, not only can they bar these charges on request, but they now require two step authorisation with a PIN for sign-ups to subscription services. This effectively defeats the mechanisms used by scammers to spoof consumer sign-ups.
      Make sure you make a complaint to PSA as well. Unless they can prove the existence of a valid contract, these companies have no right to your money. Since these signups can be spoofed in various ways, there is no such irrefutable proof.

  11. Thank you for taking the time to help Paul. The EE pin is most welcome too as a second line of defence.

    I will certain;y follow up with the PSA and also follow your guide on getting my money back.

    Im so grateful for folk like yourself who give us all a platform and also importantly a portal for the authorities to read our stories and hopefully begin to stamp this out.

    All the best

  12. Oh my God, I have discovered surprisingly it is not just me but many many people are being scammed by third party companies using Payforit as a tool to fraud the money of a mobile networks customers. It is unbelievable that is allowed and since years nobody is doing to stop stealing customers money.

    I would like to consider methods of protection against Payforit scam: changing mobile network where Payforit is not available or it can be barred, change mobile provider that does not allow to receive or send premium texts, blocking malicious scripts, adverts and hidden content to appear in your browser, changing android system to iOS which is advertised as most secure. Are IPhone users experiencing this as well ?

    I started reading how to protect myself against this form of fraud and would like to ask you is any safe mobile network which does not offer Payforit and premium text messages. I read this on Lycamobile website: Can I send or receive premium texts or make premium rate calls using Lycamobile? No. Unfortunately we do not offer premium texts or premium calling as part of our product offering. I can not find that they have got Payforit.

    I installed Firefox on my mobile and some add ons like: add block, NoScript Security Suite and Web Security. It may work if subscription is coming through hidden content and scripts which clicks on your behalf to make transaction using Payforit and you simply can not see it because they cover real content, but are we sure this subscriptions are coming that way ? Would it help this method anybody to block Payforit scams ?

    1. Hello dear Folks !

      I was scammed by Gamazing, SportsPlus and MobileMaestro. I think that good idea is to report scammer’s website to google as spam or if you believe the site is infected with malware or malicious software:

      Report spam, paid links, or malware

      Report Phishing Page

      Report malicious software

      How to Report a Website to Google

  13. 50 Reasons Your Website Deserves to Be Penalized By Google

    29) Spam reports. Google has published an online form for spam site reporting. Your site might have been submitted as a potential source of spam, genuinely or maliciously.

    46) Domain has a bad rep. You may have innocently purchased a domain with a bad history, and that could cause you problems when you try to build a new site around it. Unfortunately this is often a dead end street; you may be best cutting your losses and buying another domain rather than throwing more money at the problem.

    Penguin Spam Report

    If you see a spam site that is still ranking after the latest Penguin webspam algorithm, please tell us more about it.

    1. Anna,
      This bar will not stop ‘Payforit’ charges. Actually it is quite dangerous as it will stop you seeing the texts, but you will still receive the ‘Payforit’ charges.
      The only way for a GiffGaff customer to stop these charges is to maintain a zero airtime balance, so that there is no money to take. This is difficult to achieve if, for example, you make international calls.
      This issue was discussed in a recent GiffGaff forum thread:
      At present GiffGaff offer no method of blocking ‘Payforit’ charges. If you are receiving these charges you will need to stop them at source by contacting the company which is making them.

  14. Tesco Mobile’s premium bar will apparently not prevent ‘payforit’ charges – I asked about it while trying to cancel an unwanted and unasked for subscription:

    Me: “…is that the same as receiving payforit charges? As I understand it, if I am using roaming data and accidentally click an advert online, my number can be harvested and used to set up a payforit subscription. Can you tell me specifically that the premium bar will prevent payforit charges?”

    Raza (Tesco employee): “I’m afraid, I can’t say that Premium Bar will work specifically for ‘Payforit ‘”

  15. I have just discovered I’ve been scammed by a company called Tap2Bill. I contacted Giffgaff who have given me the contact details for this company but say they can’t stop these texts (that I never signed up to and aren’t receiving!) and if I want a refund I need to contact Tap2Bill. They have just put the bar on incoming premium text numbers, should I take this off?
    I’ve raised a complaint with the PSA. I’m out of pocket to the tune of approx £30. How do I stop the texts if I’m not even receiving them?

  16. Had £4.50 billed to my mobile by jam jar which i did not knowingly subscribe too. Browser redirect .
    O2 were helpful refunded the £4.50 and added a bar to my account for charge to mobile.
    Text Stop to number given in text and phoned number in text for refund and was told that someone would call in a few days.
    This did not happen so i have now given details to PSA and hopefully they investigate and close down these scammers.
    Cannot understand in this day of age why this can still happen with the technology we have..Surely as customers we should have a say with charges to our own bill….?

  17. Dear All,

    This scam has been going on for at least 10 years! I had tha plasure of being scammed by the following parasites:
    – My Media Games
    – Fitguru
    – Net real Solutions

    I emailed My Media Scams and asked them “what was it I should see on my screen that tells me I am subscribing to your ‘service’?”. ‘Stephen’ (no last name) slimily implied I did it myself and refused a refund!

    I deluged My Media Scams with emails only to receive tha same old slimy answer. To add to the sliminess, My Media scams started harrasing me by sending ’empty’ billing message texts and even emailing me another response for no reason!

    I have reported all these scammers to the PSA and my phone provider and they appear to be carrying out investigations. Lets see how it pans out.

    I have started a petition, ‘Ban the Scam’, on the link: please support this and pass on if you can!

    At the moment there are 67 signers and we need more!

    I had all 3rd party billing barred, which has now stopped this scam happening to me.

  18. Hi
    I am with Tesco Mobile and received the unwanted texts from about three weeks ago. I have not texted STOP to the given number.

    I went to my account page with Tesco and set the following under parental controls
    Stop texts from premium rate services
    Stop calls from premium rate numbers
    Stop texts to and from adult content premium services.

    I also have a £2.50 safety buffer which is less than the charge they are trying to make.

    So far no charges.
    I have also done your charge test to 87287 and have received no reply.

    I hope this info is useful. Good Luck

    1. Hi Andrew. My name is Tom and I’m with Tesco mobile. I think Payforit is a ridiculous ‘service’ that has no place or lawful use in mobile telephony. The fact that criminals can get anyone to accidentally click on a link and unwittingly subscribe to an extortionate fee is incredible. I firmly believe that in a few years time there will be a multi-million pound mandatory refund process, forcing the phone providers to refund anyone affected.

      Now for the good news! Tesco have finally reinstated the ZERO cap facility on accounts. I’m sure there was a zero cap when I first joined but then the minimum cap was £2.50. Some of the scammers are getting wise to this and causing phone owners to incur charges of £2.00 to get round this cap.

      Well now that the zero cap has been introduced, you won’t incur any unwanted charges at all. Well done Tesco.
      People say ‘but what if I need an emergency £2.50 credit?’ Well, most airtime plans now have such ridiculously high inclusive minutes that most people don’t use them. Most providers give 5000 or unlimited text messages. Many people only have an airtime plan for the data.
      I’ve switched my cap and my son’s cap to zero.

      Now Tesco, we are just waiting for you to opt out of Payforit altogether and see if other providers will follow suit!

      1. A word of caution. Other providers, particularly Three, offer a charge cap which does NOT limit ‘Payforit’ charges. It might be worth confirming with Tesco that their charge cap is effective against ‘charge to bill’ scams.

  19. Just in case it’s not mentioned in the thread, 02 will only block charge to bill services on a consumer account. If you have a business account you can’t block it. It’s taken 45 minutes of online chat to establish that…

    1. Thanks Rich. I wasn’t aware of this and will amend the text to reflect this. Seems crazy that business accounts can’t be protected in the same way as consumer accounts. Did they give you any explanation?

      1. Absolutely none. They did offer to apply a spending cap, but only if I take out a new contract. I don’t want a new contract and a spending cap is pointless since it doesn’t block services – my scammer was fitguru
        by the way, who insisted that I had “initiated” their service at 5.46 am this morning – while I was driving along the M56 in the dark. …

  20. Dear All,

    It is not good news about business accounts but nice to see Tesco appearing to be pro-active.

    Aah, Fitguru!!! I had the pleasure of them as well. I believe they are registered in the Arab peninsular. I have seen some of their ‘expert’ videos on You-tube, if you want to commit suicide watch them.

    You must ensure you make a complaint to the Phone Paid Services Authority (PSA). I have made a complaint about Fitguru and they are investigating them. The PSA are also investigating My Media Games and Net Real Solutions; the three ‘companies’ mentioned scammed me in one month. O2 have barred all third party billing.

    Go onto Trust Pilot and review Fitguru TV, you will see many similar complaints.

    I have a petition out about this scam, you can read more and sign the petition here:

  21. Just an update – had a second text from Fitguru just now – the service they said was terminated and the number that 02 supposedly blocked when I complained last week…

  22. Good morning everyone!

    Last night I got miraculously subscribed to something which costs 4,50 £s a week. Knowing what was going on, because my partner had been subscribed to a similar service provided by another company two months earlier, I started reading again about those scams and got to your website. This morning I called my phone provider, O2, ready to fight for my rights and I was surprised how quickly the problem was solved. The lady knew what she was talking about, immediately explained how O2 is not affiliated with those companies, gave me the short code to send my STOP message, the telephone number of the company and she offered me a refund. Full stop. I didn’t need to explain anything. Well, I’ll see my phone bill at the end of the month… But this is my story. Well done all of you. Thank you so much for all your messages and explanations. It’s really helpful to know all those terms and expressions, especially when one is a foreigner.

    1. The problem is that 02 has refused to put a block on all charge to phone services on my account, which is a business phone, even though it could easily do so and in fact does apply it to personal accounts if you make enough fuss. This means it keeps on happening and I am now on my third such incident, and am investing hours in getting the service stopped and trying to get a refund – one so far, two unsuccessful.

      02, Taptronic and mGage are all facilitators and enablers of this scam in one way or another and fully aware of how it works and of the barrage of complaints going back months and years. That makes them guilty of conspiracy to defraud, and I have therefore reported 02 to its own fraud department and informed them that I shall also be reporting them to the police via its online cybercrime website.

      However I am lucky – I can prove (thanks to Google) that I was driving alone in my car on a motorway on each of the three occassions when it “interacted” with their websites and “somebody” allegedly pressed subscribe, waited for the follow-up page and then pressed confirm.

      Many people will just find the text during the course of the day and assume it was their mistake, or their choildren, send STOP and be grateful they got away so lightly.

      This is theft, pure and simple, even if it is being organised by people in Dubai who you’ve never heard of until your phone provider willingly gives them access to YOUR phone account without bothering or caring whether you know about it.

  23. Not to mention a breach of data protection by the mobile company, by allowing your number to be seen by third parties and money to be taken out of your account. The same scam has happened to me and I’ve reported both to PSA and to the police, through their cyber crime department.

  24. I have reported all three scammers I experienced last year to the PSA and await the findings. My phone provider did nothing, they didn’t even have the contact details of 2 of the scammers!!!

    The last 2 correspondents make good points about breaching data practice.

    Does anyone have contact details for BBC Watchdog or any of these types of programmes? We need to name and shame the telephone companies and the thieves involved in the scam.

    I have found bad reviews on Trust Pilot and other review websites ‘upsets’ people like Txtnation, who bill and message on behalf on My Media Games. The more bad reviews reduces their trust scores. There are threads on this website showing this can hurt these companies.

    I have a petition out about this scam, you can read more and sign the petition here:

  25. Recently I’ve been informed via txt message that I am apparently now subscribed to the books4you service and will be now charged £4,50 a week for it. I have not subscribed to any such service. I have sent a txt message STOP (of course charged 10p) to a provided number and got a message back assuring that the subscription will be cancelled within 24h. However, trying to confirm the cancellation with the Lasevia customer service seems to be an exercise in futility – thrice I’ve called them and been assured that ‘someone will call me back to confirm’ my cancellation, as apparently, it’s impossible to check the status of my subscription in any other way?? unsurprisingly, I haven’t been contacted by anyone.
    Had someone have any experiences with Lasevia and could let me know if simply sending out STOP will stop the subscription?
    As of now I have not been hit by any charges, as I’m with giff-gaff on a strictly goodybag term and there’s nothing to take from my account apart from about 25p of change… but now I’m afraid to load any kind of money on it to check if the payment is pending.

    1. If you’ve no credit,they won’t be able to take anything. If you top up it is likely that the £4.50 will be take. Sending STOP will STOP further charges. You need to contact Lasevia to get them to write off the money owing.

  26. I’ve worked as a customer service rep in the mobile industry and yes, this subject is a total pain! However, I’ve investigated some complaints and it’s not always the providers of these services to blame.

    Many people will flatly deny receiving service until you point out how they signed up online, received a code by email, which they then entered on their device to activate the service. Suddenly, they admit, that perhaps they have used the service and shouldn’t receive the large refund they’d been demanding.

    That’s not to deny that the whole industry needs better regulating, L1 providers need to be more responsible for their L2 suppliers

    1. I recognise that a small number of consumers may “forget” that they signed up to one of these services. In such cases, if the evidence shows that the consumer has actually USED the service they have been charged for, there should be evidence which can be used to prove this. In the presence of such evidence it is unlikely that a consumer would waste their money pursuing a claim. If you have worked in the industry you will be aware that most of the networks operate a 120 day rule which SHOULD mean that consumers are automatically unsubscribed after failing to interact with the “service” for more than 120 days. Precise rules depend on service and network, but in any event, the networks seem poor at enforcing this rule.

      The case you describe, where a two factor authorisation has been used would, in my view, provide sufficient evidence that the consumer knowingly signed up for service.

      In nearly all the cases I have seen, the consumer has been deemed to have signed up by clicking a “subscribe” button, followed by a “confirm” button. The consumer’s number is passed to the “third party” by their network, which then accepts charges without any evidence of consent. It is well known that this system is easily circumvented. Indeed the PSA has fined several companies for using these exploits. Consumers can be signed up just by closing a popup. There is evidence that this abuse is widespread. Because the bogus signup can be initiated from any web page, PSA find it impossible to catch companies employing these exploits.

      The PSA recommend all subscription services to use two factor authorisation, because they recognise that the single factor authorisation method is not a reliable method of proving consent. PSA only require two factor authorisation for services charging more than £4.50 per week. All the companies involved in Payforit scams disregard the PSA advice and charge £4.50 per week or less!

      In February last year EE began to require two factor authorisation for ALL subscription services. This single change has virtually eliminated Payforit scams from the EE network. This suggests that most of the consumer complaints are genuine. I tend to believe consumers when they say the were “subscribed” to a “service” when they closed a popup. If this method of signup is removed, the scams all but disappear!

      There is so much else wrong with the Payforit system. Nobody in their right mind would agree to pay for something through their phone bill if they had a choice. Consumer protection is non-existent and the payment processors (the networks) take no responsibility, despite taking 30% of the “subscriptions” as a handling charge. No wonder the networks are so reluctant to put their house in order!

      There is much more I could say about the problems with Payforit fraud, but instead of writing here, I will refer you to my recent submission to the PSA.

  27. Within one month I found myself subscribed to three services I never heard of in my life. I did not see anything I could have clicked on in error. I wrote to two of these services and they claimed I subscribed onto links/websites I never seen before!

    The companies concerned were:

    My Media Games (with TxtNation)
    Net real Solutions

    My Media Games and Net real Solutions treated me with sheer contempt and refused to return my money despite the fact i never used their services.

    I have written about these on this website, Trust Pilot and other places.

    I don’t know how my number was obtained, whether it was some kind of malicious software or something else.

    Taking money without a person’s knowledge or permission is known as ‘theft’, end of…………..

    1. Hi Barry. If you’re having difficulty obtaining a refund from these companies, and they are based overseas, you should consider making a Small Claim against the Level 1 provider. Txtnation are UK based and subject to the Small Claims procedure. I suspect that they would pay a refund rather than be forced to explain their rather dubious business practices.
      The evidence of consent that they may produce is no such thing. It can be easily discredited. There is plenty of evidence that the system is being circumvented. Additionally, you can cite the company disregarding the PSA advice that two factor authorisation should be used for all subscription services.
      I firmly believe that the way to stop these scams is to force them in to court.

  28. In October 2018 my phone was “subscribed” to Fitguru and, a week later MediaGuru. Both said that I had completed a two-step process – clicking first “subscribe” and then on a subsequent page “confirm”. On both occasions when I received the text alerting me to the fact I had just been robbed I was alone in my car, on the motorway travelling at 70mph on my way to work, so it was totally out of all possibility for me to have used the internet at all, never mind flick through several pages to confirm a subscription to a service I’d never heard of. So the “two-step” authenticaton is either useless or a fiction.

    1. These companies make much of the so-called two step authorisation, in the hope that they can confuse the issue. Two step authorisation IS NOT the same as two factor authorisation. PSA recommend the use of two factor authorisation for Payforit subscription services. However the scam services disregard this, as it is only a reommendation for services costing £4.50 per week or less.
      The two step authorisation process is easily spoofed by malicious code which can be embedded in any web page. This code can load the signup pages in background and go through the signup process without you being aware of it. Logs from such a signup will be indistinguishable from a legitimate subscription. This is why two factor authorisation is necessaru to show genuine consent.
      Don’t let these scammers win! Pursue your losses through the Small Claims procedure if necessary.

  29. Thanks for the info. I have criticised Txtnation on Trust Pilot about their practices for which they complained. I actually put in two poor reviews. Trust Pilot said you are not supposed to put in more than one review and make accusations, e.g. call TxtNation ‘thieves’. I changed my wording which said the same thing and Trust pilot actually kept both reviews, although only one had the score.

    I recommend everyone put in poor reviews for all these companies to Trust Pilot to knock their scores down. My Media Games pulled out of Trust Pilot when they received my poor review and another poor review.

    I like the ‘Action Fraud’ reference, we should ALL report these scammers to them as well. I don’t know if the PSA can do much seeing as they penalised Txtnation several times already.

  30. I was scammed in January, ie. received a text saying I had subscribed to games4mobile at £4.50 a week. In my case I have never had mobile data switched on and only use the phone for the occasional text message and use wifi for internet but not on this day or the previous 10.

    I was with GiffGaff but they refused to do anything about it and would not block any future scams. I have switched to O2 and had a bar put on all direct bill debits. Another phone was with EE and they refused also to apply a bar until I asked for a PAC code.

    I have logged complaints with the PSA, ActionFraud, my MP, and HMRC.

    I believe that the company behind the scam is registered in the UK but only has £1 membership, not a limited liability company. Also it is registered as a charity. I have tried to get the full company details confirmed from but they have only supplied the name and an email address. I have been in correspondence with this email address but still have not managed to get a refund. I am afraid that if I use MCOL the scam company will just deny they are the said company. How do I prove it is them?

    1. Lyn

      You should be able to ask PSA to identify the company behind this “service”. What was the five digit shortcode used? Is the company listed on PSA’s number checker? If not ask them to tell you why not!

      Another way is to ask mGage Ltd who they paid your money to, and make it clear that if they don’t tell you you will use the Small Claims procedure to recover your money from them as you are fully entitled to this information, and failing to provide it will enable you to hold them liable..

      Remember you are also able to pursue the matter through your network, once you have had an initial discussion with the company that took your money. This is provided for in the Payforit rules. You don’t say which network you are dealing with, but most of them don’t like it when consumers take this step. There is no reason why you have to restrict yourself to ONE of these methods. I would encourage you to try them all!

      I take it that you have checked the companies house record for the company. Is the address the same as that provided by PSA?

      Be aware that many listed companies only have share capital of £1. It doesn’t mean the company is worthless.

      If you want to post a few more details we may be able to help further.

  31. Thanks Paul
    The phone code was 34060012 and PSA checker identified this as mGage Europe Limited (trading as mGage). I contacted them but they have only said it was Nexgen International Limited which is not registered with Companies House UK. I have contacted mgage again asking for the full contact address, company number and country of registration. It may be that they made a mistake to include the title ‘Limited’. I sent a very strongly worded email to their customer service email address on the day it occurred but never got a reply. A phone call did get a call back but that was not satisfactory. Eventually I used their on line contact form.

    Has anybody else been successful in taking mgage to MCOL?

    I tried pursuing the matter with GiffGaff, my service provider, but I got nowhere ending up with me making a complaint and them sending a deadlock letter.

    1. Hi Lyn

      You should also have received texts from a 5 digit number which might shed more light on exactly who has been charging you.

      Nexgen is a well knowm company for Payforit scams.

      Although I have been unable to find a UK company registration, Nexgen do have a UK presence

      Contact details for Nexgen are:

      63/66 Hatton Garden
      Fifth Floor, Suite 23
      London EC1N 8LE


      The Small Claims procedure can be used to recover money they have taken.

      Every Nexgen/mGage case I have been involved in so far has been resolved before getting to the point of starting court action. It costs nothing to send letters before action to both mGage and Nexgen giving them a reasonable time to make a full refund.You are also entitled to be given FULL details of how and when you became subscribed to the “service”. This should contain precise details of the “journey” made during the signup, dates times and urls visited, together with screenshots of the pages visited as they were at the time of the signup. PSA require these details are to be maintained.

      As regards GiffGaff, having received a deadlock letter, you are entitled to refer your case to the ombudsman. You will need to be clear that you are complaining because GiffGaff have not followed the procedure laid down in the rules for Payforit. These say that after you have discussed your case with Nexgen, you are entitled to escalate your complaint to GiffGaff. If they have refused to invesigate properly and give a fully justified decision, you are entitled to complain.
      Refer the ombudsman to this: Mobile Operators’ Code of Practice for the management and operation of PFI
      The ombudsman will NOT consider cases which are simply complaints about Payforit.
      You could also take Small Claims action against GiffGaff as they have failed to meet their obligation to deal with your complaint, and you have suffered financial loss as a result. You could also consider a complaint to GiffGaff for a breach of the GDPR in disclosing your number to a third party in manner which has caused you harm.
      Letter before Action (Service Provider or Level 1 provider)
      Letter before Action (Network)

      There are many ways forward from your current position, and a lot will depend on how determined you are pursue the matter. Letters before action cost little or nothing to send and often get attention. If they don’t work you then need to decide whether it’s worth spending £25 to start court action.

  32. Hi Paul
    I tried emailing but have never had a response. I sent a Letter Before Action to on 6/2/2019 and their response was

    “Thank you for contacting us.

    Please see below as proof of subscription.

    We are sorry to inform you that you do not qualify for a refund. This is the final position of the company.

    If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us on the following email address:”

    The missing image had MSISDN, Credit, Status, Network, Enter Date, Mobile Product, Opt in Date and Transaction reference. Not very convincing.

    1. Hi Lyn

      The evidence they have provided is not that required by PSA. Did your letter before action use the template on this website, in particular the paragraph designed to challenge any suggestion that you knowingly consented to charges? Letter before Action (Service Provider or Level 1 provider)

      If it did, it might be worth challenging them on this, although you are under no obligation to give them any more chances. If the letter before action covered all the necessary points, you can go ahead and start a claim on Moneyclaim Online. There will be a £25 fee for this which can be added to the amount of your claim. You must allow mGage a reasonable time to respond to your letter before action. There should have been a deadline in your letter before action. You can name both mGage Ltd and Nexgen mobile in your claim.

      If your letter before action was not clear on these points, you should probably make sure that they are aware that they have not supplied adequate evidence (which should include full details of your “journey” through the signuo process. Also they need to understand that, even if they seek to rely on this evidence in court, you will use the evidence included in the letter before action to refute that evidence.

  33. Got a SMS Text from Terra Mobile Consulting Ltd and yes it sucked my credit for about £5.
    I am on 3 and they refunded my credit without too much trouble and were even nice about it.
    They can not place a block on these pay from phone credit scams as you say.
    I do not see how unless you bar at network level you can stop this.
    I have blocked the number and checked my phone was set to ask before allowing premium services and it was but now it is set to never allow premium services but the text implies that I have signed up for just being sent the text.
    Replying STOP will just alert the sender to send you more as they know the line is live and good to go.

    I like 3 but I am thinking about changing if this bar on pay from phone credit can not be implimented.
    Good site by the way.

    1. Yes, Three are the worst network at providing protection from Payforit scams.
      You DO need to send the STOP text. If you don’t charges will continue to be made to your account.
      There is nothing the consumer can do protect themselves from these scams. Barring premium services won’t work, but will prevent you from sending the STOP text to stop the “subscription”, and may stop you seeing the “Freemsg:” texts telling you about the subscription.
      You get signed up for these “services” when you access the internet via mobile (3G/4G) data (as opposed to WiFi which is safe). The networks leak your number to these third parties and then allow them to make charges directly to your account. There is nothing you can do to prevent this happening. Other networks allow you to place a “charge to bill” bar on your account which will stop these charges. Three refuse to do this. EE currently offer the best protection, with a charge to bill bar and a requirement for 2 factor authorisation which defeats the exploits used by these auto-subscription scams.

  34. I’ve just discovered that we’ve been paying £4.50 pm on my son’s account via Payforit to Jamjar since April last year. I’ve just spent an interesting hour or so reading through quite a few of the posts about this. Three have said they can’t reimburse as £50 is the limit. I’ve managed to speak to someone at Jamjar on 03300 538740 to get payments stopped and my son has texted them to stop (he had thought the texts he’d been receiving we’re spam so had been ignoring them). I’ve been told that someone will call me back about getting a refund but I’ve also emailed using the address. Thank you for all the useful information on here, if I get no joy I will certainly be back on here to follow your suggested complaints procedures.

  35. Network operators can stop these shortcodes appearing on invoices by removing the scam shortcode from the relevant reference data tables that feed into their mediation and billing platforms – but this is well beyond customer services.
    The issue facing the network operators is that they incur a cost for the shortcode and if they don’t pass on the charge to the end user then the operator loses out on each text.
    So although the network operators should do more the premium content industry needs to be regulated by a stronger authority, ie Ofcom, to enforce this and punish rogue content providers and content aggregators.
    Re Three, something to be aware of is the bill spend cap. Three are obliged by law to apply a £0 bill spend cap on request (not for pre pay) so you can’t use/be charged additional costs above your monthly charge. Speak to your service team and they will have to apply it, if you are a pay monthly customer.

    1. I agree that better enforcement is the key here. However networks are not REQUIRED to allow these companies to take money. They can and do stop dealing with some of the worst culprits.

      The Three charge cap doesn’t work against Payforit charges. Three have confirmed this many times. They are the only one of the big 4 networks not to provide any means of barring Payforit charges.

  36. I am just wondering if the only way I can get these charges to stop is by completely cancelling my current contract, losing my number, getting a new contract with a different provider and obtaining a new number?

    1. Nooo!!! Don’t do that. Just contact the third party and tell them to cancel the subscription. Then tell your provider to put a bar on all charge to bill items. O2, Vodafone and EE will all do this for you. Unfortunately, if you’re with Three or GiffGaff you will need to move to another provider, but you ca keep your number! Moving provider on its own isn’t enough though. The charges are attached to the number.
      If, after the subscription has been stopped, further charges appear, contact PSA who should take an interest. I’ve never heard of anyone having that problem though!

  37. I was with 02. When I asked them to block charge to bill items they told me they couldn’t do it because I was out of contract. I made a fuss, asked for a supervisor etc, and they told me that they couldn’t do it because it was a business contract. So I told them that was fine and I was off to my local police station to report them for conspiracy to defraud. For conspiracy to be a valid charge they don’t have to steal from you themselves, just know about it and allow it to happen, which they were provably doing in my case . Wait a sec, they said, it seems we CAN block charge to bill items after all…

  38. An update about Three. I have just spent 2 hours in a chat session with them. They in fact DO allow you to block these services. You have to know what to ask for. According to the rep I was chatting to:

    “Yes, we can block it by making your spend control limit zero. You will not be able to subscribe nay such services or call any chargeable number.”

    I told them to go ahead. We got texts telling us our limit had changed to zero. We tested by trying to send a text to a chargeable number and the phone said we couldn’t, so it seems to have done the trick.

    I then suggested that they should allow the user to set this spending limit from the billing page of the Three website. But they seemed to get confused as if this would raise privacy concerns and told me a lot of stuff about how they used to send a text whenever a service was signed up to and this made everyone very upset:

    “Yes we tried that to make customer aware of the services but these services ranges from movie updates to 18+ sites and when we tried sending the text for these services, most of the customers felt that it is breach of there privacy and hence as per Data Protection Law passed by UK, no service provider in UK allowed to do that.”

    Obviously that has nothing to do with the idea of making the control over the spending limit easy to find for the person paying the bill! This makes me wonder whether there is some incentive for them to keep quiet, like they get a cut from the premium rate scammers.

    Also in our case the service something to do with American basketball (NBA, “”) that we’ve never heard of. It is a completely ridiculous idea that we would have signed up for it by choice!

    Hence there is either a deliberate scam in operation, or the sign up system has severe bugs where a random phone number can get signed up, and if you’re the unlucky victim then it’s your problem getting a refund.

    But you can opt out with Three. Be aware that you will no longer be able to donate to charity by text message, etc.

    1. Susan, Three have misled you. The spending cap they have applied to your account will not stop Payforit charges.

      It is effective against charges for outgoing texts, but will not affect the reverse texts used by these scams.

      If you want to prove this, use mobile data on your phone to browse to and go through the signup process. When the charges get applied to your account refer back to Three and insist that after giving you incorrect information they are responsible for the charges!

      When put under pressure, Three have resorted to the spending cap in the past. However they have admitted many times that it doesn’t work against these scams.

      Yes, there is a serious problem with the signup “system”! Take a look at this report comissioned for BBC Watchdog

    2. I had exact same suggestion from Three about a few weeks ago, I said to them it’s not acceptable, because by limiting to zero I am also limiting myself if e.g. I need to make a call abroad or send message to international number that wont be in my allowance, so I literally can’t use my phone outside UK allowances. I spent hours on the line with them and was so frustrating. I simply cannot believe they can’t stop it because THEY are paying invoices to these companies since I am paying this money THROUGH their account, so in fact they should also be able to refund money to you rather than asking you to deal directly with the scammers. I managed to get a refund from 85088 premium service liaising directly with them, however the same month I’ve received a NEW scam message from 65333 charging me again, so I believe these companies are operating together selling to each other numbers that they had to delete from their list.

Comments are closed.

With the demise of Payforit, and a PSA consultation on a new Code of Practice for Phone-paid Services, we have decided to launch the Phone-paid Services Consumer Group (PSCG). You can visit the new website by clicking here. IF you need help, please contact us via the contact link on the new website.
Follow by Email
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux