The ringtone craze extends from fanatics in their pre-teens to those in post-retirement. The ease at which ringtones can be added to a mobile is staggering, and assigning a specific tone to a friend or family member is as simple as clicking a few buttons. However, there is some discretion that should be used before downloading ringtones to keep any “surprises” from entering your mobile, or even worst, your wallet.
Trojans and Viruses
Free ringtones, and even those that you pay for are files, identical to those that are downloaded to your PC, only much smaller in size. Your mobile is synonymous to a computer which means that there is always the chance that a virus or a trojan can enter your mobile through ringtone downloads. Check with your service provider to see if they offer protection from virus downloads before your add ringtones that are found on the Internet.
Not all ringtones are compatible with all phones, and the customer (not the ringtone provider) is required to ensure that the ringtone will work once it is purchased and downloaded. Also, be sure that your mobile carrier supports external ringtones, as many compatibility tests found online will verify that the ringtone will work with a phone, but after download, customers will find that their mobile provider disallows the ringtone’s use. Check on the limitations of your mobile provider regarding external ringtones before making your ringtone purchase.
The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) allows mobile users to seamlessly connect to the Internet and surf the web via their phone. Connection charges to use the WAP varies by carrier, so be sure to verify how much you are paying to browse before logging on to get your downloads. And, as connection speeds may vary, the time spent downloading ringtones can become costly. One of the best ways to avoid these charges is to use the free services (such as in-store kiosks) that may be available through your mobile phone’s service provider.
Unbeknownst to most, are the ringtones scams that have emerged with the free download (or even paid download) providers. In these instances, downloads of ringtones automatically “subscribed” the customer into a program whose charges were seen on the customer’s phone bill at a later time. Subscriptions for scams can be flat-fees or dependent on the number of ringtones that are downloaded, and range in cost from a few dollars, to a few hundred dollars in unauthorized charges. In most cases, neither the cell phone carriers nor the subscription companies are required to refund the charges.
By using trusted networks of ringtone providers, most of the problems stated can be avoided or eliminated. Safe bets to ensure that you receive the most from your downloads require that you install virus protecting software, check on the limitations of your service providers, and read all fine print prior to downloading ringtones from an unknown source.