Insurance firms shamed for spam SMS

2012-08-03 07:29
The insurance industry is the most prolific when it comes to sending spam to cellphones. (Jay Reeves, AP)

The insurance industry is the most prolific when it comes to sending spam to cellphones. (Jay Reeves, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Cape Town - The worst industry in sending spam to consumers is the insurance industry and consumers should take measure to limit their exposure to unsolicited mail, an industry insider has said.

"The highest volume of spam in South Africa currently is in the insurance industry and the second industry is cellphone contracts. Those two in terms of our surveys are the industries that send out the most spam," managing director of BulkSMS.com Dr Pieter Streicher told News24.

Spam sent to cellphones is become a big problem in South Africa, particularly as users have to unsubscribe from the list to limit the number of messages.

Streicher, however, rejected this method saying that was not good enough to protect consumers.

"Opt out does not work: To give you an example - you have businesses that buy and sell personal information. They create these lists which they then sell on to a company which then uses that list to send marketing information.

"Now let's say you opt out - you are opting out of that specific company sending you marketing information, but you're name is still on the list, and your details on that list are being sold to thousands of other companies. It's impossible to get off the list," he said.

Defence

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was meant to provide consumers with some degree of defence against a growing mountain of spam via SMS, but its opt out clause means that the onus falls on consumers to try and get themselves off lists.

Streicher warned that the CPA also had the unintended consequence of creating a market for the trade in personal information.

"The Consumer Protection Act works on an opt out basis which basically means that any company in the country can send an e-mail or SMS to anyone in the country... a marketing or promotional message and they only have to stop once consumers opt out.

"That opens the door for spam and creates a market for the buying and selling of personal information."

The Internet Service Providers Association (Ispa) recently published a local spammers Hall of Shame and said that despite efforts, it was difficult to control the unsolicited mail.

"While ISPs have to bear the bulk of the cost for bandwidth overuse by spammers, this cost is often passed onto the consumer through increased internet access fees or a degraded service level," Ispa said.

Spammers were also able to send messages to a new cellphone number within less than two weeks of activation.

Jobs

"It's harvested in all sorts of places; it's scraped off the internet - any mobile phone number or any e-mail address you happen to publish - even for instance if you advertise a vehicle in the classified newspaper," Streicher said of numbers that were targeted.

He doesn't oppose the sending of unsolicited messages in principle, but was quick to say that when the process was automated, it posed a risk to the people working in marketing industries like telesales.

"It's a big problem when comes to electronic communications because the communication can be automated. It's technically possible to press a button and send a message to 40 million people.

"The excuse that the direct marketing industry uses that it should continue to work on an opt out basis otherwise people are going to lose their jobs is disingenuous because it's an automated process - you don't employ many people."


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    ispa  |  internet  |  mobile
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
20 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The quest for understanding has reached a new intense emotional level. The more tempestuous your emotions are, the bigger the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.