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I’m sure you’ve received random texts telling you that you’ve been pre-approved for a loan or that your car warranty is about to expire. But did you know that people were being charged for texting “premium SMS” fees for texting those numbers back — to the tune of $2 billion per year? Luckily, three major U.S. carriers have just agreed to put an end to premium SMS fees, which should help combat these spam texts.
The Attorney General for Vermont William Sorrell on Thursday announced, “We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists. We’re hopeful the other carriers will soon follow their lead.”
This means that AT&T(s t), Sprint(s s), and T-Mobile(s tmus) have agreed to eliminate any sort of additional billing associated with premium SMS messages. Prior to this, a PSMS would allow you to “subscribe” to a service that could be charged to your monthly phone bill. The problem is that nearly all of these services have become spam.
The carriers will still allow donations to be made via text for charitable or political services, but you’ll not longer have to worry about an errant charge from a shady number.
Verizon(s vz)(s vod) released a statement explaining that, while it is not joined in the same effort as its competitors, it too is “winding down” its premium message service.
This is good news for U.S. cellular subscribers all around. It’s also a good reminder to check your phone bill every month, just in case.