Who's calling Bitterwallet? #2 - marketing scum or expensive scam?
Not a call for the second installment in our irregular feature, but a text message. There was excitement in the Bitterwallet bunker this morning, the sort that sees us dispatch shaved monkey Mof to the off-license to buy twenty quid's worth of Diamond Blush:
"FREEMSG: Our records indicate you may be entitled to 3750 pounds for the accident you had. To claim for free reply with CLAIM to this msg. To opt out text STOP"
A kick in the arse off four grand, and we haven't even had an accident! An- oh. Bollocks. It's a scam, isn't it? Of course it is. A quick search on the intermaweb doesn't reveal the particular number that sent the SMS, but a search for the message reveals plenty of forum posts dating back to last year. So what happens if you respond to this or similarly vague texts that appear out of the blue? According to reports, several of these messages appear to have been sent from premium rate numbers, meaning if you reply you may be billed a small fortune. Or even a large one.
However, the act of replying has value in itself, because it validates your mobile number as one that's currently in use; in this instance, if you were to respond by texting CLAIM, then your number becomes of enormous interest to ambulance-chasing solicitors. And so, it may be that the scammers were inspired by the marketeers who use such tactics. A trail on posts on MSE leads to a company that "buys and sells marketing 'leads' of personal information of people who are looking for loans or insurance. They obtain many of them from the major price comparison sites on the net."
By reply to messages like these, you may be helping companies create lists of validated mobile numbers that can be sold on to relevant clients. Such information is incredibly valuable, because the cost of developing such leads from scratch is enormous. Delete and warn others at every opportunity.