Subscription traps from Gymondo and Co.: How O2 customers are unknowingly ripped off


If you are an O2 customer, there is a particularly high risk that you will fall into a subscription trap and your mobile phone bill will suddenly be much higher. But how can that be?

Many O2 customers end up in subscription traps and don’t know it. (Source: O2)

  1. How the subscription trap works

  2. How to protect yourself from the subscription trap

  3. Already in the subscription trap?

There are a number of cases of fraud in the name of O2. For example, SMS messages threaten to shut down your mobile number or make your SIM card expire. However, once you have seen through the scam, you will not fall for it again. Much more perfidious are subscription traps that can potentially affect all O2 customers.

Maybe you’ve already looked at your cell phone bill and noticed that it’s significantly higher than usual. A closer look reveals the culprit: an additional subscription that you didn’t even sign up for. This type of case is apparently not uncommon with O2. There’s always talk of unwanted subscriptions in connection with the mobile phone provider.

In this context, the Gymondo fitness subscription keeps cropping up in the O2 forum. Over 220 users complain that they apparently took out a subscription without doing anything on their part and that ten euros more were suddenly debited. Since not everyone checks their bills every month, the financial damage can sometimes be higher.

Unwanted subscriptions for the O2 Music package or the O2 Unlimited Games flat rate are also not unusual. However, none of those affected can explain how this could have happened. There is hardly a satisfactory answer; most of the time, cancellation is recommended and at least a credit is offered.

How the subscription trap works

Although the scam occurs unusually often at O2, the mobile phone provider is not necessarily to blame and is by no means the only company affected. In fact, it is a trick carried out by cyber criminals. Advertisements on the Internet are manipulated, as the consumer advice center reports.

This method is called clickjacking. A button, such as an “X” to close the ad, is intended to encourage you to click. If you tap on it, a “Buy” button from a third-party provider is activated in the background. Your mobile phone number is then identified and your payment information is then sent to the mobile phone provider. In the end, it looks as if you have booked a subscription directly through your provider.

The process only works if you are connected to the Internet via cellular with your cell phone. Prepaid tariffs are also affected. If you are on WiFi without a SIM card, nothing can happen to you.

Such a manipulated advertising banner does not necessarily have to be found on a dubious website. For technically savvy fraudsters, it is no problem to carry out the process on a reputable website.

How to protect yourself from the subscription trap

So that you don’t have to worry about every advert on the internet from now on, you can follow a few simple steps to avoid an unwanted subscription. First of all, we recommend setting up a third-party blocker. This will prevent your cell phone number from being identified for billing purposes for paid services.

You must request the blocking from your provider. To do this, contact your provider by email, via the customer portal or with a sample letter.

You should also keep an eye on your SMS messages. Subscription traps are real contracts. You will be informed of the conclusion of the contract via SMS, even if you did not knowingly book the subscription. You will then always receive an SMS as confirmation.

Understandably, this can easily be mistaken for a phishing attempt. However, if you recognize the confirmation SMS in time, you can cancel the subscription before you incur any costs.

Already in the subscription trap?

If you have already fallen victim to the scammers, you should not panic and act quickly. The best thing to do is to contact the O2 community. They will help you quickly. If you contact them in time and can describe the problem, there is a good chance that you will get your money back. You should also cancel the subscription and ask for confirmation.

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