Recently I found on my Facebook account a short wedding video from a very good friend, he had sent me short videos previously, and as is my custom, I clicked it to enjoy the viewing.
Unbeknown to me, it proved not to be a video put onto Facebook by my friend and when I clicked on the video this is what instantly appeared on my mobile phone:
"FreeMsg:Ur subscribed to ........, u've been charged $6.95/wk on ur mobile acct.Txt stop to 19772665 Help 1300 ........ 4 More GAMES GO"
(plus a Web site – I did not include it here as they too might have been an innocent third party as was my friend, likewise, nor the name of game nor the 1300 number).
1. called the 19772665 number to cancel - it was disconnected.
- rang my friend who knew nothing about the video
- contacted my local Telstra Business Personal Provider
- Rang Telstra accounts.
Telstra accounts had obviously seen this all before and having done all my personal identification procedures, put a bar on that incoming billing and registered the billing account details, and put a note on the file that this had been cancelled.
More than that the instantaneous billing account had already lodged the initial weekly $6.95 and Telstra said this would appear on my account but would be reversed so although it appears on the next bill - it has not been charged, but reversed.
After doing all this, a few days later the 1300 number answered and I was able to cancel at that end as well.
The obvious - be rigidly cautious in trusting Facebook items, even from friends, that take you to another domain.
There are mechanisms to cancel such a billing situation through your mobile phone provider.
The Facebook site has a procedure to alert them when such situations appear.
To the unsuspecting this is an easy catch all and very lucrative as many people may take ages to enact these steps as they may not have realised what has happened.
Problematic situations are common place and one only need to speak to those working for the Department of Fair Trading (or similar bodies in each State) to see where dramas occur in every day life.
These are common -
Quite apart from all the above, fraud remains a major crime in Australia and one must be forever vigilant in one's dealings as to avoid being caught up in such a situation. The Proverbs are endlessly warning against such perilous engagements.
This exercise, I found myself alerted me once again to the greatest fraud of them all, that is the frightening prospect of a lost eternity. The Scriptures says that the thief comes to steal and to destroy.
Jesus made it very clear, no one comes to the Father but by me and the many associated biblical references that Salvation lies not in the good things I do, nor in the charity I offer, but it is singularly in the Cross of Calvary.
It's certainty, the assurance we have, is the resurrection of Jesus. This is the good soil. This is the way of righteousness. This is the way of repentance and forgiveness. As the Apostle Paul says, this is the stuff of what makes up being lovely – and think on these things!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html