Facebook Game Scams Users; Fees Tagged On Phone Bills!
Mafia Wars, FarmVille and Restaurant City are some of the most popular games that these social networks like Facebook offer to their users. More than 63 million people, alone, play FarmVille. But after the jump, read why those games can lead gullible players, including children, into Internet scams… especially if you have a cell phone.
Time.com has an interesting piece that details how games on Facebook – FarmVille in particular – ask for your cell phone number and charge hidden fees to your bill. You see there are these ads, generally known as lead generators, they may be a “click here to win a free PS3,” a subscription to Netflix or a credit card, promising something for nothing, generally.
But once you add a cell phone number and create a password, you’ve unwittingly subscribed to a service you never wanted but WILL be billed for. Phone companies know about these services from a third-party provider, but the owners of these phones cannot find out who the providers are, leaving them with a mysterious charge unaccounted for.
Back in the early AOL days, I used to play a game — one that I can’t recall — and I used to play it at least 3-4 hours out of the day once I was done with the prerequisite chores/homework. My parents who had bought into the Internet craze early, let my sister and I create our own accounts for AOL as a way of letting us, you know, express ourselves.
A month had passed. I was a chattin’, game-playing Internet nerd and being in high school, that was the most fun that I could have. One day, I had been pulled out of class, an emergency happened at home. The school was in my backyard basically, so I walked up to the crib quick fast and ended up seeing my dad. “Let me talk to you, son,” my dad said. His voice was already filled with rising anger. He showed me the bills. $178 in gaming surcharges had been billed to the lead AOL account (my parents). He yelled, cursed, said I wouldn’t amount to shit (go figure, huh?) and I took it on the chin.
I say all that to say that kids these days are going to find themselves in a heap of trouble if their parents get billed the way I did when I was young. It’s even worst now that unemployment has hit 10.2% (the first time over 10% since 1983). Facebook, Myspace users beware of what you click on. It may bite you in the arse in the end.