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If left unnoticed, this could add over R200 to your phone bill per month.This could help these ‘Wasps’ earn large amounts of money, even if they only reach small numbers of people.It starts with mobile phone users receiving an SMS from a Wireless Application Service Provider (Wasp) saying “you have not updated to the latest Whats App Add-ons”.The SMS then prompts the user to ‘click’ - or rather press - on a link.And they do that; they say R7 a day,” Segev told Fin24.Section 45 of South Africa’s Electronic Communications and Transactions Act says that “no agreement is concluded where a consumer has failed to respond to an unsolicited communication”.Also, Wireless Access Service Providers (Wasps) could temporarily remove users from their lists but then reinstate them later again.Users even risk being charged a fee to be taken off a list."It makes it very, very difficult to invoke South African law against those kinds of systems, and that's why your best form of defence is to be aware of these kinds of situations that are out there,” Segev told Fin24.
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MTN, meanwhile, told Fin24 that it has tried to put measures in place to protect consumers from risks associated with these services.“MTN is aware of wireless application service providers (Wasps) that send links to subscribers and unwittingly subscribe them to content services that charge their accounts periodically,” the company told Fin24.“MTN has introduced a token-based billing system in its quest to protect its customers from roque WASPs.
To activate this self-service token, MTN subscribers need to dial *141*5# to view, activate or cancel subscriptions.“This system will generate a token for customers to opt in and approve their purchase or subscription to any Wasp service before being billed.
You'll think nothing of it, but then little amounts of money come off your account without you realising it,” Segev said.
Segev further told Fin24 that this type of SMS sign-up is just one of many as other companies send out text messages prompting users to deactivate or even upgrade Whats App.
Segev says “unsuspecting” victims will activate the link, which opens up the phone’s web browser and leads to a page with a big green button that says ‘continue’.