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Firm fined for Angry Birds mobile billing scam

Free games not free, but bad
Thu May 24 2012, 10:46
Any Birds players have been targetted by spammers

A FIRM has been fined for running a scam that exploited Cut the Rope and Angry Birds gamers through in-game billing.

Phonepayplus, which is part of the telecoms regulator Ofcom, said that it had received 34 complaints from users that downloaded replicas of the well known games that included extra code that triggers the sending of SMS messages to a premium rate number.

"The apps were replicas of popular games and entertainment services, such as 'Angry Birds' and 'Cut the Rope'. The replica apps were developed to include coding, which triggered the sending of text messages from the users' handsets to a premium rate number," it says in its adjudication.

"In response, [the] system sent premium rate messages to the users at a cost of £5 each. The charges continued to be triggered until users uninstalled the replica app from their phone."

If that was not bad enough, the apps even hid their tracks, shielding the fact that they were sending and receiving the high cost messages. It is estimated that the outfit behind the scam made up to £50,000 and it has been fined that much by the regulator.

As well as this it has been told to refund customers that lost out to its scam, whether they have approached it for a refund or not, and check in with Phonepayplus before it launches any other services. µ


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