|Vodacom uses Facebook to combat SMS scams|
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 14:30
The SMS informs you that you have just won a large sum of money – often hundreds of thousands or even millions of rands – and in order to claim your prize, you simply need to dial a number.
Most South African cellphone users have been on the receiving end of one or more of such scam SMSes. Now local cellular network Vodacom is harnessing the power of social media to crack down on and combat these scams.
The mobile phone operator has created a new, specialised tab on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vodacom) where customers are able to spread the word about new and existing scams by submitting any SMS scams they have received. The tab can be used and accessed by any Facebook user, but those who are concerned about privacy need not worry, since the scam reporting is done completely anonymously.
To submit a scam on the tab, users simply go to Vodacom’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Vodacom), click on the Prevent SMS Scam tab and submit a scammer’s number in the provided blank field and retype the content of the SMS as they have received it. Once submitted, the scam will be investigated by Vodacom’s Forensic Services team who will take the appropriate action.
If the scam they have received is already listed under recently added scams that are being investigated, users can still use the “plus one” button to indicate how prevalent that particular scam is.
According to Richard Boorman, Vodacom’s head of Corporate Affairs, it is great to use the popularity and power of Facebook to solve this age-old problem. “SMS scams have been around for just about as long as the SMS itself has, and up until now getting the word out had relied on traditional media. With this simple solution, we intend to close the window that scammers had to fleece unsuspecting people before the warning could be raised,” Boorman says. “Most importantly, rather than being driven by the company, this approach uses the combined experience of all of Vodacom’s customers.”
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