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July 2nd, 2014

How to prevent unnecessary costs of AVAST SMS notifications when replacing your SIM card

avast! Anti-Theft is a separate program included in the avast! Free Mobile Security appYou can install it at the same time as avast! Mobile Security, or later, during a separate installation. Its unique capabilities help you recover your phone by controlling it remotely with SMS commands or via the Internet by logging in to your AVAST account. The app can also notify you that your SIM card was removed, in case the device was stolen. All that will help you to control and locate your lost or stolen smartphone. Since its release, we have received many messages from all around the world, proving that avast! Anti-Theft has helped many users find their missing devices. A dramatic story with happy end came to us from the Humayuns brothers. They were attacked at a Pakistani market. Their smartphone was stolen during the attack. Luckily they were able to catch the thief using avast! Anti-Theft. Stories from the open road have also come our way from motorbike AVAST fan DuckyBoy and truck driver Steven B., who used AVAST to track their missing smartphones lost on the roads of USAWe even received a detective-like story from sisters Katharina and Nicole. Nicole’s phone was stolen during the trip to Vietnam, AVAST notified her sister Katharina that her SIM card had been changed and provided her with the phone’s new number. Using this information the girls successfully tracked down the stolen device (with a little help from Vietnamese authorities). Last but not least avast! Anti-theft managed to locate a phone that was lost for a year and a half, it traveled a great distance within Africa before it was found!

DiedreD-user-testimonial

 

However, we have also spotted questions from users who were surprised by the “extra charges for the SMS notifications”. Some thought the charges came from AVAST. Let’s clarify this functionality and explain, why mobile operators can charge you for SMS notifications sent from the avast! Anti-theft app.

Why is it happening and how to prevent unexpected costs?


Let’s first explain the two functionalities that are related, but not identical.

SMS commands – to control your device remotely

SMS commands allow users to control their lost smartphone remotely. Using the SMS commands, users can silently retrieve details of calls made and received from their phone, copy incoming or outgoing SMS messages, remotely lock the phone, sound an alarm or even remotely wipe all their personal data from their phone, if the phone is not expected to be recovered. It is also possible to receive continuous GPS updates so that you can track your phone’s location. SMS commands always require conscious action by the user and have to be pushed either via your friend’s phone or from your my.avast.com account.

To set up SMS commands you need to:

1. Set up your my.avast.com account to communicate with the Anti-theft app.

2. Pair your smartphone to the account by following these simple steps: open avast! Mobile Security -> Settings -> tap on the avast! Account -> follow the registration steps. In case you have avast! Anti-theft installed as stand alone product, you can pair it from the main menu by selecting avast! Account -> follow the registration steps. There is no need to double pair avast! Anti-theft separately, if you already did it via avast! Mobile Security.

3. Set up friend’s number to allow a person you know well and trust to remotely control your mobile device, using particular SMS commands (for example: lock your mobile, sound an alarm, take a picture of the thief)

4. Send SMS commands from your account: Open account -> Devices -> Select desired SMS command from the drop down list

SMS notification – to notify you, when your SIM card was changed.

SMS notifications are sent to AVAST, to notify users that their SIM card was changed. Thieves usually change the SIM card after stealing a phone. Therefore avast! Anti-Theft recognizes when this happens and notifies you of the new number so you can maintain contact with your device.  The SMS notification from your phone is sent to the Czech number, so our servers are able to identify the new number that replaced your old SIM card. This SMS notification will be also be sent to your friend and a notification will be displayed in your my.avast account.

Your mobile operator will charge you for each SMS notification you send, this charge does not come from AVAST. But just think: you can pay 50 cents for the SMS notification, helping you to locate your stolen device, which is probably worth around $200. That’s a great deal for such a small cost! However smartphones are not yet “smart enough”  to recognize who replaced the SIM card: the genuine owner or a thief. Therefore when you decide to replace your SIM card (for example when you travel abroad, or when you own more than than one SIM card) you have to control the SMS notifications from avast! Anti-theft manually. Since this only happens occasionally, we advise our users to disable SMS notifications temporarily. It’s fairly simple and requires only a few steps.

To set up / disable SMS notifications you need to:

1. Connect your avast! Mobile Security with my.avast.account. Open avast! Mobile Security ->Make sure  Anti-Theft is enabled.

2. Open avast! Mobile Security -> Anti-theft -> avast! Account -> Enable/Disable function Send SMS to AVAST

Disabling this functionality before replacing your SIM card will save you from unexpected charges. Please don’t forget to restore it afterwords!

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