There are few things more annoying than having a productive strategy session or one’s lunch break interrupted by a cold call from a random telemarketer or by receiving a spam SMS message. Consumers may try their best to keep their numbers private by only sharing it with selected friends, family, and colleagues, but these numbers may still end up on a call list that they have not signed up for.
In spite of legislation like the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), which serves to safeguard consumers from telemarketers using their private information to contact or take advantage of them, sales calling, cold calling and phone scams are still common today.
The situation has escalated to the point where consumers have been illegally charged for simply trying to stop mobile spam advertisements that they have not subscribed to.
The rising frustration of consumers to continually fight off pesky telemarketers is a global problem. According to the Houston Chronicle, the Federal Trade Commission in the US receives close to 18,000 complaints about cold-callers per year. Telemarketers make 148 million junk calls a day, of which the Direct Marketing Association reports receiving almost 4,000 telemarketing complaints per month. Locally the numbers cannot be confirmed. While laws in Nigeria forbid telemarketers from contacting consumers, lodging a complaint with the governing body for consumer protection is a lengthy process and remains a challenge.
Luckily, technology exists to help you avoid, block and prevent these kinds of calls and messages from reaching your number. Truecaller is a leading search technology company that offers users a trio of apps to instantly know who is calling before you answer, whether the call is being made from a landline, mobile number or pre-paid phone thanks to an extensive database of more than two billion numbers. Truecaller, and Truemessenger work together to create a safer, smarter communications experience, ensuring you do not become a victim of harassing sales calls, scams or spam SMS messages.
Moreover, the apps provide you with immediate access to an expansive list of the top spammers in your region, allowing you to quickly block calls from all numbers reported as spam. Users contribute information by flagging and reporting spammers to benefit the entire community.
When it comes to dealing with mobile spammers, the company offers another solution in the form of the recently launched Truemessenger application. Truemessenger tells you who sent you that SMS even if they are not in your contacts, and automatically blocks and filters spam SMS, keeping your inbox safe and clean.
“We have an active community of more than 150 million members that join together to report spam and help you avoid being fooled. Truemessenger and Truecaller will save you plenty of time, cure curiosity around missed calls and SMS messages from mysterious numbers, and help you communicate more with those you want to,” says Husain Misherghi, Vice President, Growth and Partnership MENA Region at Truecaller.
In most cases consumers are unaware of their rights, the options available to them to remedy the infringement of those rights or they have the wrong perceptions of these solutions. Anyone with a smartphone can benefit directly or indirectly from the Truecaller trio of applications, which do not only block pesky telemarketers and spammers, but also help you connect with people in your circles, making the mobile phone experience more intelligent, relevant and personal.
Oyedeji Akindele is of the Media Research, Monitoring & Evaluation, Media Craft & Associates.