Arthur Booth got a rude shock when he opened his phone bill this week, slugged an extra $65 after being bombarded with a string of spam text messages since Christmas.
The Wollongong man said he received an unsolicited text in late December, offering him a chance to win a new car. After following the link on that message, Mr Booth has received similar spam offers every second day, offering gift vouchers and supermarket deals.
"They kept sending new messages with different offers.
"I just deleted them immediately when I received them."
The texts were nothing more than a regular annoyance - until his monthly phone bill arrived, with 13 separate messages between December and January totalling $65 on top of his usual charges.
"Some of the offers said they were coming from Coles, Woolworths or Myer, but they were fake," Mr Booth said.
He said he contacted the Telephone Industry Ombudsman (TIO), who informed him, in his particular circumstances, he would not have to pay the charges.
He unsubscribed from the messages, but has a message of his own for any Illawarra residents who may become victims of a similar trap.
"Immediately ring your phone carrier if you get any of these texts, and immediately call the number on the message to unsubscribe from the service," he said.
"I've been trying to get out of this since Christmas afternoon."
A spokesman for the TIO could not comment on a specific case, but said anyone receiving such messages should try to unsubscribe from the texts as soon as possible.
"Consumers who have had issues with a premium SMS should raise them with the content provider and if the content provider is not responsive, with the telco that has billed for the service," the spokesman said.
"If the consumer still cannot resolve the complaint, they can contact the TIO."