the spam text epidemic among Globe Telecom subscribers and Globe’s anti-Globe-subscriber red tape non-solution
there is an epidemic of spam texts that has been infecting Globe Telecom subscribers, both post-paid and pre-paid subscribers. you know the epidemic exists because you are a victim yourself, you read about the complaints to Globe on Twitter and in fact if you read any of the Globe accounts on twitter like the @Talk2Globe account, you can read that most of the complaints are on spam text.
there are now two kinds of spam texts that have been hounding Globe subscribers.
the first one is the “Ad & Services Spam Text“. these are texts that sell you something – a product or service. the products are mostly condo units, some kind of insurance or medical service. the most rampant ones are sent by Ayala Land and Megaword, two of the country’s biggest property developers. insurance and medical services were mostly sent by Caritas. In fact Caritas was even featured in Philippine news as apparently it sent the most number of spam that some lawsuit or complaint with the government agencies have been filed against Caritas.
the second spam text is the more dangerous one for Globe subscribers as this one is criminal – this is the “Scam Spam Text” . this is not just dangerous, this kind of spam text can be very costly to subscribers, it is a scam where the sender intends to fool the Globe subscriber to send the scammer through Globe’s “pasa load” facility. “pasa load” is the facility where one can send a cash value to another subscriber. that cash value is charged or added to the sender’s cellphone bill and the recipient in effect receives a cash value that can be used to pay for cellphone consumption. it is like a money transfer from one’s bank account to another bank account.
this kind of spam text goes over beyond the inconvenience of getting unwanted text from someone who wants to sell you something. this one is an attempt to steal money from you.
ans example of this is this one:
the Scam Spam Text has several components :
- the text sender pretends to be from Globe Telecoms or the text was sent by Globe itself, from “Globe Postpaid”. this is to make the text appear as legitimate.
- the text claims the receiver or intended Globe subscriber victim of the scam was incorrectly charged of something by Globe like an LTE service, an overcharging on roaming or something else
- to stop or get reimbursed of the incorrect charge by Globe, the intended victim is asked to quickly send a reply text to a number
- there is an instruction how to send the reply text. this instruction in truth is the code text Globe subscribers use to be able to do a pasa-load. in the above example, 300 means a P300.00 cash value will be sent to the number indicated on the number
- the number that it will be sent to is a different number from the one that sent the scam spam text to the intended Globe sub victim
- once sent, the Globe subscriber victim is charged that amount while the same amount is added to the recipient’s load
we got tired of getting these spam texts. the spam texts are sent at no particular time and some of them even at times when we are resting or in meetings. because we receive the text, some effort is made to get our phone and at least look at who sent the text. that is inconvenient and irritating on its own and it gets worse when you receive a lot of it. they also occupy some memory on our phones. memory is a precious commodity to cellphones. a lot of memory occupied means the phone can lag or slow down. aside from the need to look at the text, it consumes time and effort to delete the spam texts and tag the number of the spam send sender as spam.
tagging the cellphone number as spam effectively blocks that number from sending you text or calling your number. you will not even notice you receive a text or call from the block numbers as they are their calls are automatically blocked or their text automatically and silently sent to the spam folder.
we wanted to do more than just block the numbers of the spammers from our cellphone with the use of the blocking function, we wanted Globe Telecom to do something about it so that the practice is stopped at their system itself. we also knew that there were many more Globe subscribers who are being victimized by the spammers. to do that, we have taken our cause on Twitter (@wawam).
we have been sending screen caps of the offending spam text to the @Talk2Globe twitter account and asking Globe to “disable” the cell phone numbers of the spammers.
at the start of the spam epidemic at Globe, the twitter account handlers of Globe didn’t know how to handle the complaints. we suppose no guidelines were yet set at the start. sometime after, the Globe twitter accounts were asking for proof and netizens started sending them screen caps of the spam text. based on our own experience, Globe twitter account handlers said they will handle it and even said they will be sending warning messages to the spammers.
we sent our tweets that contain the screen caps of the spam text with the hash tag #StopSpamText . we noticed that at some point in time other twitter account users with Globe accounts also used the same hash tag that we started.
recently, we found out that there was a new policy at globe :
we thought this new policy was all wrong, violates the privacy of the victims of spam texts, makes it extra difficult to file a complaint and get action from Globe and tends to favor the offenders, the spam senders and disadvantages the victims. Globe was supposed to protect its subscribers, instead it protects the spammers.
Globe wants the victims of spam text to :
- give Globe through twitter the spam victim’s cell phone number
- for the spam victim to agree for Globe to give their cellphone number to the text spammers the victim’s cellphone number once the spammers dispute Globe’s action on the spammers
we feel the last requirement was the most damaging of them all.
- it violates the privacy of the spam victim. people do not like their cellphone numbers to be given to just anyone and everyone. we only give our cellphone numbers to people we know and only if we like to.
- Globe giving our cellphone numbers to the spammers opens up the possibility of the spam victims being harassed by the spammers. if Globe gives the victim’s cellphone numbers to the spammers, it will be a cycle of harassment and even more spam to be sent by other numbers that the spammers can use after the old one has been disabled by Globe
we do not see how that requirement will help Globe subscribers who are being victimized by the spammers. Globe fails to see that those who receive spam are actually the victims. the victims are asking help from Globe, for Globe to stop the spammers from further victimizing legitimate subscribers and Globe seem not to be up to helping its subscribers with their problems. instead of helping their subscribers from being victimized by spammers, they are protecting the spammers and in effect allowing the spammers to continue their spamming efforts.
if the spam victimized Globe subscriber does not give his cellphone number to Globe and not agree to allow Globe to give their cellphone number to spammers in case of disputes, Globe will drop the case and not pursue any action on the spammer. that means the spammer in question is left by Globe to continue victimizing Globe subscribers.
- first, the spammers are claiming to be from Globe. that alone should give Globe enough reason to disable these accounts. they are illegally using the Globe brand name and Globe corporate name. it is misrepresentation and misuse of the Globe brand and company name. it is patently illegal.
- not only are the spammers illegally using the Globe brand and corporate names, they are damaging the brand image of the company and the brand.
- the screen caps of the spam texts is a visual proof of these efforts.
- for sure, Globe has a way to find out in their system if a certain number is sending spam texts to others. Globe should have a record of the texts each number sends. a quick access to the text records of the spammers would show the spam texts.
- even if Globe does not keep a record of the actual texts sent by their subscribers, they can for sure know how many texts each subscriber sends out in a given day. a very high number of outgoing texts at any one time is a clear indication that that number is being used to send spam text
- these are spammers, they send hundreds or thousands of texts to other subscribers in a given day, for sure other legitimate Globe subscribers who are victimized by the spammers do not want to receive spam texts. once a number is reported by at least two (2) Globe subcriber victims, that should be enough for Globe to scrutinize the cellphone number if it is sending out spam texts
- there can be some kind of a computer program that they can develop to do this kind of investigation and analysis. all of this can be automated.
why should Globe eliminate spammers and disable their numbers?
- they are illegally using the Globe brand name and corporate name, this is illegal.
- they are not just spammers, they are scammers, they are doing illegal activities. legitimate globe subscribers are being victimized.
- with rampant text spammers, it makes the Globe experience unpleasant and irritating for their legitimate subscribers. a bad brand experience leads users to transfer to other mobile service providers.
Globe has adapted a very strange policy on spam text. rather than help and fix the problems their subscribers are bringing to them, it is making it difficult for their own subscribers, asks information and agreement from their subscribers that put their subscribers at risk of more harassment and in effect protect and help the spammers who in the first place are doing illegal and irritating activities.