The Office of Fair Trading launched a new scheme to warn the UK's youth about the dangers of replying to spam text messages.

The organisation sent thousands of mock SMS spam messages to people aged between 18 and 24 as part of Scams Awareness Month.

The OFT estimates that about 6% of all scam victims are aged between 15 and 24, losing money to a variety of mass-marketed scams each year.

Mike Haley, director of consumer protection at the OFT, told journalists: "Young people can fall for exactly the same types of scam as anyone else, often delivered through the latest technology. We hope that our innovative approach of sending fake scam text messages will remind young consumers to be on their guard if they receive a suspicious offer".

The message claimed that the recipient may have won a cash prize, saying "Urgent! U may have won £1k cash with '2 Good 2 B True", (hmmmmm - I would have definitely fallen for that one.)

The text is quickly followed up with another to explain the ploy and promote a new service called PhonepayPlus.

This allows users to text details of a premium rate number and receive information on the cost of calling that number, details of the service provider, how to contact them and how to complain if necessary.

The OFT hopes that this information will help people avoid premium rate scams, in which messages trick people into calling numbers with excessive charges.

"Our job is to crack down on scams and other misbehaviour when it occurs so that everyone can use phone-paid services with confidence", concluded Trays O'Reilly, director of standards and communications at PhonepayPlus.