Better Business Bureau Cautions Consumers against mobile marketing company
February 6, 2013 (SAN DIEGO, CA) – The Better Business Bureau of San Diego and Imperial Counties is asking consumers to check their cell phone bills for charges from a mobile marketing company with a recent influx of complaints.
Byte Spike LLC, a local mobile marketing services provider, generates mobile campaigns for media agencies, businesses and direct marketers. According to their website, Byte Spike was created to “fill the need for cost-effective mobile programs,” and remains dedicated to acquiring “high quality leads.”
While Byte Spike insists that it operates to create positive and engaging campaigns, the company has received an “F-rating” from the BBB and 26 complaints in the last 12 months alone.
“Cell phone usage has become such a major part of our daily routine. With nearly 80% of the population owning some sort of cellular device, it certainly gives unethical companies and scam artists a lot of opportunity to take advantage of consumers,” says Sheryl Bilbrey, President/CEO of the San Diego Better Business Bureau.
Unaware that they have even been targeted by the company, consumers are looking at their monthly cell phone bills and finding charges of $9.99 on their statement. Upon contacting Byte Spike’s customer service department, the majority of consumers seem to have little luck reversing the charges. Unfortunately, since these charges are made by a third party, consumers are unable to have their service providers reverse the fees. This very issue – billing or collection issues - is responsible for 21 of the 26 consumer complaints against the company.
“Even if you have auto bill-pay, it’s crucial to look at your statement every month,” says Bilbrey. “Consumers are finding these extra charges on their bill without even knowing the company it’s associated with and writing a check without asking too many questions.”
Phishing scams via text: Another way of wide-spread phishing, fraudulent text message have become more and more common over the last few years, prompting consumers to give up not only access to their phone numbers, but also providing personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.
Phishing Scams via Email: With smart phones more popular than ever, beware of opening suspicious emails on your cell; by clicking on a link embedded in a phishing email, you may be giving up personal info and infecting your device.
Online Contests: If you are told you have “won a prize” on the Internet and simply need to enter your phone number to receive it, beware. Certain links may give scammers access to your cellular account, download malicious software onto your device or access personal information.
The non-profit organization Better Business Bureau of San Diego and Imperial Counties opened in 1921, and is San Diego’s largest county-wide business membership organization with more than 6,400 accredited businesses and charities. The BBB provides free pre-purchase information and advice to consumers. Its website is viewed over 7,700 per day, and houses business reviews on more than 50,000 local companies. Before buying decisions are made, consumers are encouraged to phone the BBB's free 24-hour Consumer Helpline at (858) 496-2131, or visit the website at bbb.org, to obtain free pre-purchase information and a list of BBB Accredited Businesses by type of industry.
Director of Communications
Better Business Bureau, San Diego