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I am receiving several suspicious SMS messages with links telling me that I have requested subscription to their services (which I have not) asking me to confirm subscription.

These SMS appear only when I visit a few selected sites on my android phone. It is as if there is someone in the network watching my traffic and spamming me only when I visit those sites. Also, after a while surfing, whichever link on those selected websites I click I get redirected to ads.

In the latest instance, after several such spam SMS messages got received the ISP automatically subscribed me to some useless paid service, with no action or confirmation from me.

Is the network operator/someone targeting my number based on the websites I am visiting? And how can I stop this?

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Its very possible that your operator inserts a header in outgoing HTTP traffic containing your mobile number, just to allow remote billing, ad targeting, and remote subscription. http://www.htxt.co.za/2014/10/29/vodacom-admits-to-leaking-phone-numbers-to-websites/

Those sites you visit, are those "trusted" sites or are they "random"? If they are random, it might be that those sites are using your phone number to bill you just to gain Money. Its not possible to turn off such auto billing.

To protect yourself against large phone bills, I would suggest switching to prepaid. If some subscription service initiates on your phone then the prepaid card will exhaust quickly and then the subscription service will stop to work, preventing any high charges to you.

Its might be very possible that you in the TOS of your operator, did accept that says that by visiting a site over mobile data, you accept that the site might bill you for its usage. To prevent such things from happening, you could in addition to getting a prepaid, also get some sort of VPN tunnel, either to your home, or to a VPN operator, then preventing the operator from injecting your number in your HTTP traffic.

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  • How can I confirm a this? Are there any tools for it? – Ranbir Mar 10 '15 at 6:23
  • Visit this site from your phone, and check if you can see: Your mobile number, your IMEI, your IMSI or your ICC ID: myhttp.info – sebastian nielsen Mar 10 '15 at 9:11
  • It just shows the Http request as a table with no such data – Ranbir Mar 10 '15 at 15:57
  • If the HTTP request shows no such data, then either this is not the case (that the operator leaks information), OR the operator has configured their servers to ONLY "leak" the information to a few sites, including the one you regularly visit. Then its impossible to "detect" if your MO is doing that. – sebastian nielsen Mar 10 '15 at 21:51
  • I am almost certain it is the second one. The MO is leaking customers browsing data for ads. I am changing the operator. – Ranbir Mar 11 '15 at 6:11
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I think you have an infection. You could confirm that the network is not the issue by testing these things on another network (wifi vs cell, another wifi network, etc.). If it still happens, then it's your phone.

If it is an infection, I think a "nuke from orbit" is in order and you should reset your phone. But, that risk/benefit analysis is up to you.

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  • This happens repeatedly. I'd like to see what's wrong. Is there a way to get to the root of the problem? – Ranbir Mar 10 '15 at 6:25
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Disable third party payment by contacting your operator. You wont be able to pay by phone service - but who needs this? Otherwise if needed, use Adblock.

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Verizon and Sprint recently got in trouble for allowing unauthorized third-party charges. As a result of this, Sprint and Verizon agreed to provide a free service that blocks third party charges. I'd suggest calling up your carrier, and threatening to report them to the FCC if they prove to be unhelpful. You might also be able to receive compensation.

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  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – Xander Aug 7 '15 at 16:17
  • He asked how he can stop this. Depending on their cellphone carrier, they might be able to access a free service to at least stop the third party charges even if the root of the problem is not solved. – John Smith Aug 7 '15 at 16:45

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