Everyday, sometimes twice a day, one of the Hypertext team members receives an SMS that reads something like, “Get EMOJI stickers EXCLUSIVE to your WHATSAPP! Dial [REDACTED] and stand to be 1 of 3 100GB DATA BUNDLE WINNERS! R2/day. Ends 1 Jul. T&Cs. Cell C. Stop reply: out”.
Opting out of messages like this often feels like a game of Whack-A-Mole with one stopping and three more appearing in its place.
Now, there is a way to head directly to the source of those spam messages.
The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has launched a tool that will make it easier for you to identify who is sending you spam.
That tool is the rather boring sounding Numbering Lookup Tool which comes from WASPA’s Codes Project.
With this tool you can search short codes, numbers and USSD strings to see if they are tied to a WASPA member. That is important as not all wireless application service providers are WASPA members. If you’re looking for a list of WASPA members you can find that here.
We keyed the number from the above message into the tool and we were surprised to learn it was never sent by Cell C, but rather Cellfind, a mobile solutions firm.
Unfortunately the number listed in the search results rang endlessly, but a quick internet search lead us to the correct number. After two short calls (the second was necessary because it appears CellFind’s technical support operates remotely) we spoke with a representative.
We asked nicely that our number be removed and we have been told that our number would be removed, “in a few minutes”.
Honestly, it’s the easiest call of this nature we’ve ever made.
But should you be using this information to contact the company? According to managing executive at WASPA, Ilonka Badenhorst, yes.
“If the company that sent the SMS is registered with WASPA, their contact details will be provided, allowing the consumer to contact them directly to obtain more information on the originator of the message, to request to be removed from the database or to lodge a complaint,” says Badenhorst.
This tool forms part of WASPA’s wider Do Not Contact initiative.
The WASPA Do Not Contact (DNC) list is a list you can add your number to for free and WASPA members may not use that number for marketing purposes.
“WASPA members engaged in direct SMS marketing campaigns are required to check the WASPA Do Not Contact list on a weekly basis. This means that there may be up to one week’s delay between adding your number to the DNC list and all WASPA members blocking direct marketing to your number,” the association explains on its website.
“This means that consumers that make use of the DNC and Codes facilities can rest assured that WASPA’s members – and their clients – can only send marketing messages to them if they are already a customer or have specific permission to do so, as well as being easily identifiable as the sender,” adds Badenhorst.
[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]