Let’s talk tonight – 5471705735
Your’s sincerely received the SMS above. The only thing slightly abnormal with the text was the number, but then again, I regularly receive calls from “spirit-like” numbers. So I did what any young man not allergic to receiving a seductive text would do. I replied “who’s this pls?”. A reply came about 10 seconds later. With a slight Ronaldoesque arrogance on my face, I picked up my phone with my left hand and clicked open the text.
Thank you for being a part of Frenszo Chat where you make NEW FRIENDS anonymously. Your chat id is 1380154.Start talking now!Dial 547 to chat with your friends.
I do not know what annoyed me more, the fact that the reply was not what I was expecting or that the fact I was DUPED into subscribing what I definitely did not want to subscribe to. This is not the first time I have complained about unsolicited communication. I am sure all GLO users are used to our friend 40404 and the SMSs from 1212 that try real hard to lure you into participating in a raffle. But this auto-subscribe Frenszo Chat takes it to another level. It is a scam. pure and simple.
Not the first time
I few months ago, immediately after loading a the grand sum of N500 airtime, I received a “missed call” from a strange looking foreign number. I called back. The call lasted about one second and it said my credit had finished. I smiled because I knew I had just fallen for a premium number scam. Unfortunately, I did nothing about it. I even sort of blamed myself thinking I should have known better. Thinking back, I can imagine how much these slimy bastards must have stolen from someone like my grandmum. This scam of course is not possible without the aid of GLO and other telcos. Assuming they are not directly behind it entirely. This time around, I will do my little bit and send send off a petition to NCC. Please, If you know anyone that can help make my petition have the slightest of effects, do let me know (ositanwoye@gmail).
The way forward
There are so many “value added” services on Tanzanian mobile networks how do I search/compare without digging thru TONS of SMS promos?
— Mbwana (@Mbwana) August 23, 2012
That Tweet by Mbwana has a high level description of the solution to this problem. There should be an “app-store” for VAS (Value Added Service). Most importantly, each VAS should have the identity and contact number of the company behind the service published. And there should also be a way to report the criminal services that steal. Someone should please run along with this idea and when you hammer, send my N500 recharge card.
Another important thing is that there should be a universal way/standard to unsubscribe to any service say by replying with the letter ‘U’. Or better still, opting out entirely from ANY unsolicited communication from telco’s and their added services.