What is DCB_ASSOCIATION text and how to recover after receiving the message?

by Gabriel E. Hall - -
12

Question

Issue: What is DCB_ASSOCIATION text and how to recover after receiving the message?

Hello, I have received a message that says the following “DCB_ASSOCIATION: 149427a0982c12478497b8a”. I have no clue what triggered this message – is it a scam? Do I need to do anything after receiving this SMS? Please help.

Solved Answer

DCB_ASSOCIATION text has been a mystery to many users for years, as they do not understand why are the messages coming to their Android phones or what do they mean. Additionally, the SMS usually comes from a short number like 6759 or 7133 without any indication of who the sender is.

Mobile devices have become one of the most important parts of any modern-day individual's lives, as phones are used not only for talking to colleagues, family and friends but also for gaming, texting, drawing, carrying out payments, and much, much more. Essentially, phones are now mini-computers that possess a large amount of CPU power and are actually more powerful than some desktop or laptop computers.[1]

Nevertheless, smartphones have been used by malicious actors to carry out scams for a while now, and users keep receiving messages with false claims or asking them to click on malicious links that download malware,[2] direct to spoofing[3] sites, or ask for credit card information. Thus, it is not surprising that people would question an unsolicited message from a short number, which includes DCB_ASSOCIATION plus some random text.

DCB_ASSOCIATION what is it?

Therefore, what is DCB_ASSOCIATION text, and what to do once you receive it? Well, the good news is that it is definitely not a scam, and is coming from a legitimate source. Users receive a text from a short number (four digits) with the following text:

  • DCB_ASSOCIATION:Y35810KLQRRF6D4H9D9Q4FRTGM
  • DCB_ASSOCIATION:PB23CF051C8536D53CD34EAD, or similar.

DCB_ASSOCIATION stands for “Direct Carrier Billing” and is a simple online receipt that users receive from Google Play Store after performing a transaction on the market. Users can set up their mobile carrier accounts to be billed instead of their credit cards directly – it is a common and effective way to perform purchases via the Store. Therefore, DCB_ASSOCIATION messages only come to Google Play users, i.e., Android devices.

Once a purchase is made via the mobile provider, Google Play sends a message to the carrier using a specific code that is only related to that particular carrier that includes the text “DCB_ASSOCIATION:[authentication_ID].” This message helps the carrier to identify multiple things that must correlate with each other, such as the phone number, the request ID, and Google account belonging to the correct parties.

Based on all the received parameters, the carrier can authorize the transaction, which results in users receiving a brief DCB_ASSOCIATION text. In other words, it is a simple confirmation that the transaction was made via Google Play account and that it will be billed via the carrier.

Thus, if you have enabled your carrier as a payment method for your transactions on Google Play Store, DCB_ASSOCIATION text is legitimate, and you should not be worried about receiving it. However, you should also be aware that certain hacks or malware infections might allow malicious actors to perform transactions via Google Play without your approval.

In such a case, you could and should be worried about DCB_ASSOCIATION prompts. The best action would be to change your Google password immediately and contact your carrier, explaining about the unsolicited transactions coming from your account – you will most likely be refunded.

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About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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