AT&T + Google+ giving away your number for $$$

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by HeadGear, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. HeadGear macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    #1
    Last month I got my bill in the mail and it was $30 over my normally monthly fee. I realize it's only $30 and it's no big deal, but that's $30 I can use on my wife...or something at Apple.

    Anyways to my point. I was receiving these 5 digit phone number text messages and I never responded had no idea how they even got my number since I never give it out and on my bill I had 3 services for $9.99 each for random text messages about the sun, when I should date (i'm married?) and some other random crap.

    Needless to say I called AT&T they removed the charges and when I asked how these even got there they said they give out everyone's number to these places because they receive a kick back and they won't stop the charge either obviously because it's money in their pocket. Disappointing if you ask me.

    I started to think some more about my recent activity and remembered I created a Google+ account so I e-mailed Google and I got a response about how they also give out your number and e-mail address to companies like that for Ads. They didn't mention anything about a fee getting paid to them, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

    ...reminds me of Microsoft and how they do business, glad to say I own a Mac and am apart of the Apple team.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    If the two statements above are true and you have documented proof via e-mail from Google and the recorded call from AT&T then you need to pursue this. I would be seriously surprised that either company made these statements. Not so much Google, but the statements you claim AT&T made can really cause issue for them. You would not have the recorded call but AT&T's call centers likely record all calls. They do archive them, if they're recording them, and it is your right to have that call reviewed by senior leadership. $30, in the face of a phone bill, is something to quibble about. If it were $30 more on a bill that was thousands I'd likely shrug it off as well, but the statements made are what really disturb me.

    You should file a claim with the FCC and reference your time/date of the call and the e-mail. Let them be the judge of any wrong doing. The FCC complaints I have filed have turned out quite well (only two in my years) so I do value their existence in some cases. Posting here isn't going to resolve any potential problem but at the very least it will alert AT&T customers.
     
  3. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #3
    I had an issue as well with AT&T where some Yelp-like SMS based service automagically added itself to my account for $2.99/month. Called AT&T to get it removed and they gave me some song and dance about how it can be added through text solicitations (even though I never actually got one).

    Anywho....they can establish a MediaNet PIN for you so that if any sort of mobile related charge is to be added to your account the PIN would have to be entered first to authorize the charge.
     
  4. HeadGear thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    #4
    I didn't think to record the call from AT&T and I wish while I was on a call I had a record button -- would be a great feature. As for AT&T recording all calls do you think they would give it to me if I requested it or would I have to get a legal team involved to get that sound byte?

    I do have the Google E-mail referencing to giving out our e-mail and phone numbers and if I can get that AT&T message I think that would make me a force to reckon with at the FCC level.

    I posted here to vent, but glad you're opening my eyes to more.


    AT&T said they put a purchase transaction hold on my account, basically meaning no "additional" charges can occur without my consent. However the reason I'm mentioning this is because I started getting those text messages again yesterday and I called today and they said no charges have occurred so I hope I don't have to call again. I also had Yelp like ones as well.

     
  5. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #5
    My wife got three text messages like that in December for $9.99 each. She texted "STOP" to all three. When I got the bill I was shocked to see it $30 more than usual. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with AT&T and they reversed the charged and we setup parental controls on both phones on my account.
     
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #6
    HeadGear AT&T won't pony up the recording of the call without a subpoena. They have no reason to either. Thus my recommendation to file a claim with the FCC. You can file one with the Better Business Bureau but I hate to say those are often responded to and they go no where. AT&T will refund your charges and say you're not damaged. I am big on saying the same except that this issue could be wide-spread and could compel someone to look into the general business practices of the company. Even if the privacy policy of AT&T and Google specifically protect them, on a state level privacy policies are often amended.

    North Dakota, for example, is an opt-in state. Meaning you have to opt-in instead of the blanket you usually see of opt-out. Opting out means you have to do something to opt out, but opting in is an entirely new story. There are about 6 or 7 states that are opt in, I hope for more in the future.

    My point was that AT&T has probably recorded the call. Agents say crap all of the time that may have not been within their cute box of responses. I've dealt with that before where you get an over-informative agent. As a businesswoman it is a nightmare for me. As a consumer it's like Christmas. You won't get the call but you should file the complaint with the FCC and note the time/date because they can get a copy of the call on CD. The system they use is one of a few and they're all pretty much the same. The calls are recorded and easily (using an application) reviewed. If AT&T finds your claim worth looking into (they will when it comes from the FCC) then it would behoove them to listen to the call. In my business I do it often. The second I read a claim made by a customer that points to a specific egregious statement that could otherwise bury my case and my legal standing, I listen to the call.

    I realize you're venting but I've gotten these texts while on Verizon. I was a 10+ year customer of AT&T (as successor to pac bell, cingular etc) so this isn't me bashing them so much as saying there should be no reason to believe that a customer should have to review their bill line by line every month to ensure the company is not sneaking in charges. $30 is nothing, ok. $30 every month to every customer is criminal.

    I know you were ranting and it is your choice to pursue this but knowing that AT&T likely recorded the call and they're regulated on both the state and federal level could be worth your 30 minutes to file a claim that is well-worded, accurate, and most of all informative of their business practices.
     
  7. cotak macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #7
    You realize there's also the possibility that there are companies out there scamming a buck by random texting?

    Can you post the response you got from google because according to their privacy policy they are not suppose to give out your sensitive or personal information. At most your information might be used by google with a 3rd party for google's purpose but not for people to spam you.

    I think you might be over reacting and blaming google for this. It is possible you have your phone number listed somewhere on the internet? I know mine's on resumes on job sites. Luckly for us we actually have laws against such behaviours in Canada and our telecom industry has been pretty active in blocking such spam (I used to work for one and we had good policies about such thing).

    Usually for these sort of SMS charges you need to have send them a message. Or otherwise agreed to it somewhere online. You might have done so without realizing it at some point.
     
  8. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
  9. PNutts macrumors 601

    PNutts

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, US
    #9
    A quick search on Internet shows a lot of discussion about this. As was mentioned above the shady companies simply send text messages to random numbers. They also occur by voting or signing up for offers by text. It was also mentioned that you can log into your account online and block Internet based text messages (won't affect personal texts) and that AT&T offers a service to block text charges. I didn't validate these comments but I'm doubtful of the scenario presented by OP.
     
  10. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #10
    I wouldn't respond.

    Since you're on ATT, forward them to 4 digit code: SPAM
     
  11. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #11
    Didn't know that was an option. I didn't even know she got them until I questioned her about the bill.

    Anyway, I don't think anybody is handing out our numbers for spam, I think they just spam these to every number possible. Some companies may go out looking for people listing numbers online though.
     
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #12
    Just pointing out the thread title is very very miss leading. You are blaming Google for something they have no part in.
    This is a AT&T issue.
     
  13. Ding.Dong macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    I'm extremely skeptical that anyone from AT&T or Google would publicly state this. Your call with AT&T wasn't recorded, so we only have your word on that, but if you have an email from Google staff stating that they sell your personal information, that would be huge news as it violates their privacy policy. Why don't you post a screen shot of the email?
     
  14. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #14
    I do this all the time. AT&T then asks for the number. Normally, they then say "Thank you" and end of story. Every so often then respond saying, "That is a short code. You should respond with STOP," which then peeves me off even more.
     
  15. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #15
    It's an f'ed up system.

    spam from email? reply BLOCK
    spam from shortcode? reply STOP
    spam from 10digit? forward to SPAM

    sigh... dunno how they expect consumers to keep track.

    http://www.wireless.att.com/support...20912515172.Anti-spam FAQ 080707 Consumer.pdf
     
  16. magicbrain macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #16
    fishy

    i also doubt either of those co.s would admit to this, but they only way to fight this is to switch your number to google voice. i believe they have auto spam filter, they don't have your cc #, so they wouldn't be able to put such service on your bill, finally you can block any # from texting you
     
  17. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #17
    I'm telling you, submitting a claim to the FCC is the best way to go about this. The BBB receives more claims than the FCC because people automatically go to the BBB whereas the FCC isn't the first thought in their mind often. The BBB is tasked to respond to all or rather, have a company respond to all. if they don't their rating can be lowered and believe me, it is easy and not likely hindering to simply divorce your company from the BBB once your rating is too low. Small businesses shouldn't do this but AT&T could and would do this to get away from a crap rating. Not being a member of the BBB when you're a company as large as AT&T is not a big deal. Consumers will use them regardless.

    They will weather this storm but as the little guy, the best you can do is make them feel something for not providing consumers a reasonable method of protecting unauthorized charges.
     
  18. lordofthereef macrumors G5

    lordofthereef

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #18
    So you recently signed up for new services and automatically decided they were selling your information? Just so you know, mobile numbers are pretty easy to guess. If the text is undeliverable an error code eventually comes back. It's entirely possible that a computer is randomly generating numbers and logging all numbers that are successes. Pointing the blame at either of these companies with as little information as you have seems wrong to me.
     

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