Feb 6 2013
We have all seemingly adapted to email spam. We set spam filters to auto move the identified spammer into a junk mail box. The spam still arrives at your computer thus the bandwidth is used. On an ADSL account we don’t notice it but if we are using 3G receiving spam is an unnecessary expense.
Spam could merely be some unsolicited mail trying to sell you something or it could be a more serious attempt to scam money from you. It’s so bad that I assume all mail from any bank to be a scam.
Email scam and spam is not the focus of this article. Scam and spam sent to your mobile phone via SMS is the focus here.
While we can all agree that it’s unlikely we will ever eliminate this practice it is interesting to see where the money goes.
In the world of SMS scammers & spammers WASP services is the way to go.
It’s a simple matter of registering with Vodacom and becoming a WASP service provider. You can now send bulk sms’s to millions of mobile phone subscribers using a database of dubiously obtained mobile numbers. More importantly you can charge a premium rate even for simply sending the SMS.
There is an infinite number of angles to spin a SMS scam. To be safe assume all SMSes that are not from a known contact to be trouble.
Here’s a simple scam that has been pulled on many people:
- You get an SMS telling you that you have won a prize of Rxxxxxx million. They list a mobile number for you to call to claim your prize.
- You have not won anything but when you call the number given in the SMS the operator although super friendly is not super efficient. You are put on hold for ages, asked irrelevant questions and it is clear that you wasting time here.
- Not all premium rated numbers have to have a special prefix, they can appear as totally normal numbers.
- You might be wasting your time but the scammer is making money! The number you dialled is a premium rated number and you could be charged any amount per second of the call.
It’s only clear that you have been scammed when your monthly Vodacom bill arrives and you see the extra charges for “premium rated services.”
This is where is becomes really interesting. Remember the money trail!
Vodacom benefits the most from all money made in this type of scam. They get 70% of the amount charged to you. The WASP provider and the registered “premium content provider” gets a mere 30%
It seems obvious to all that a crime has been committed by illicitly extorting funds from you. However, the burden of proof is now yours.
It seems unbelievable that a company as big as Vodacom can get away with this type of crime. The reality is that they do!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!