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Increase in spam “Skinny Pill” SMS texts sent by scammers

30th January 2015

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has identified a substantial increase in concerns being reported about spam texts purporting to offer diet pills. 

The ICO has said the SMS text messages are sent from a different mobile telephone number daily and are mainly sent via the Vodafone network.

The text messages read: NEWS! - New 'Skinny Pill' Helping UK Women Lose 1+ Stone a Month. Limited Time Free Trial Ends Today, Claim Yours Here http:// [link redacted] orTxtSTOPtoOptOut

The URL link is only valid for the date that the message is sent and leads to a scam website that carries the logos of the BBC, The Guardian and The Telegraph to appear legitimate.  

There is an eight page report about a ‘revolutionary system – The Holy Grail of Weight Loss’. The reporter claims to have taken two weight loss products called Slimgenix System and Cleanse EFX and lost 1.5 stone in four weeks. At the end of the report there is a promotional coupon with a link to get a free trial of the drug, paying £2.95 for shipping. The coupon states that the offer expires the same day.

Paying for a “free trial”

The ICO have also said there are many UK weight loss discussion forums regarding this scam. In signing up for the free trial of diet pills, individuals provide their bank card details to pay for the shipping.
Many people are reporting hundreds of pounds being taken out of their bank account on a weekly or monthly basis. There are also discussions about the pills being harmful. 

Protection advice

Do not respond to these unsolicited marketing texts and report them to the ICO here. Also forward the message to your mobile network on '7726'.

These types of scams rely on people not reading the terms and conditions which usually sate that the person signing up to the trial consents to regular monthly payments being with withdrawn from their bank. 

It is important to remember that in most cases because you have paid for a product and received it, this cannot be recorded as a fraud. If you have already entered your card details on one of these websites, call up you bank immediately to stop these payments and give us a call on 0300 123 2040 for advice.