Spam SMS from loan companies - what you should (and shouldn't) do

26 August 2011

spamEvery couple of months we receive an email like this one from avid Bitterwallet reader Stephen. We keep receiving them because the world is still full of low-life loan companies that will do anything to take your money.

So here's Stephen's dilemma, along with some background on about why businesses harass consumers with SMS messages:

I keep getting calls and text messages (5 or more per day) from finance companies about debt, loans etc. I have debt but no missed payments - I'm paying everything on time. Not sure where they got my details from but it started a month or so ago.

"Hi, do you need cash now? No guarantor, 95% approvals in August. Get up to £750 today! www.fastresultuk.co.uk....."

"Your loan has been approved for up to 15k.... www.mrborrower.co.uk..."

"Get up to 300.... www.txtcash.co.uk/sc ..."

"Your loan has been approved for up to 15k ...www.ukapprovalsite.co.uk..."

"Gr8 news... call 01613780109..."

All the texts come from different mobile numbers 07.... and include these words at the end of the text "reply STOP...". I replied STOP to two of the texts but they keep coming even more.

How do I stop them?

The worst thing you can do when receiving these types of text messages, is to reply "STOP". In fact, that's exactly what they want you to do.

As we've seen in the past, there are people who make their money by selling consumer databases to anybody who'll pay, regardless of whether they have permission to sell the information. Some of that data may be out of date - a person may have moved house or changed their phone number, so these companies are sometimes texting numbers blindly in the hope of a lead.

By replying "STOP" you're actually confirming the number is still active. You then become a verified contact and your information becomes more valuable; not only will you be spammed by text even more, but you'll most likely have your details sold on again because they're still in use.

A quick check of the four websites mentioned by Stephen reveals two of them are the same company using different names, and all of them have two traits in common - there are no direct contact details other than email forms; and you've never heard of any of them. Meanwhile the text that provides a phone number is from a company hated by anyone who has the misfortune to contact them or answer a call from them.

The reason you've never seen or heard of these companies before is because they're doing things on the cheap and sly. Buying marketing lists costs hundreds of pounds and create little awareness. That's good for them, because people are less likely to complain if they think it's just them being spammed. Meanwhile, television and press campaigns cost tens of thousands of pounds at the bare minimum, but also puts them on the radar of the authorities.

So what can you do if you're being bombarded by these texts? You could register your number with TPS (Telephone Preference Service) for free. In theory when your mobile number is registered with TPS, marketeers can't contact you without your express permission. In practice, that simply doesn't happen. If you supply your number to a business just once, there's the chance that number can be sold on and then sold to whoever wants it.

The only cast-iron way to ensure a mobile number doesn't receive unwanted SMS messages is either a) never enter your mobile number into any sort of online form or printed form, or b) discontinue the number, start afresh and follow the first option to the letter. That's inconvenient, but it may just be worth it.

TOPICS:   Debt   Scams   Loans   Mobile

21 comments

  • Mel
    I had unsolicited phone calls from a company pretending to be 3. It'd be silent on the line or answer machine, I'd ring it back and get some salesperson. I called 3 to confirm it wasn't them, and it wasn't, so I reported the number to Ofcom and rang them to inform them what I'd done. The calls continued, so I called them and told them I knew who they were and that I would ring the Police if they ever bothered me again. The calls stopped, and I wasn't bullied into changing my number.
  • Offical S.
    @ Mel No-one like a grass Mel. Watch ur back.
  • Colin
    I've had this, thankfully to an old pay as you go SIM I don't use anymore, except for forms/online posting/etc. It happened after posting the number to eBay on an auction selling my car, so they're obviously just getting their numbers anywhere they can. They text from random mobile numbers and thus are clearly buying throwaway SIMs to generate them. I also got the occasional calls - I managed to reduce these by actually answering one. The guy seemed genuinely surprised when I told him I didn't have any unsecured debt, so I do wonder if the lower down employees think everything is legit.
  • joker
    official 3 service desk how do u think u can get away with ur idol threats and even worse idol threats to a women u coward and she said she wuld fone the feds not that she did so before u threaten people learn to read properly u d**k
  • delroy b.
    i just want tow no if i can get a 6 mot loan for 750
  • delroy b.
    can i
  • Killer99
    @Offical 3 Servicedesk, I have tracked your IP, you had better watch your back kiddo, I know where you are and I will be paying you a visit.
  • Mike H.
    I wonder if Bitter Wallet sold Stephens email address to the marketing companies?
  • Adam M.
    I've had constant sms messages, phone calls all being from loan company or claiming that a loan is ready for me, I can claim on my miss sold ppi and I'm entilted to £2000 whatever in comp for the accident I've had. Ah? Are these people mind readers or something? 9 times out of 10, the numbers are 'private numbers' the times I have answered them the line goes dead the moment I say hello. What the hell?! I must admit the last couple of times my patience has worn thin and I've at the top of my voice, I can really go! lol To F**K OFF!!! That seems to have stopped the calls at least! lol But not the sms messages. May not be the best way of doing things but it's worked for me! lol Registered my number now with the link, fingers crossed that helps! My advice to the rest of you, just keep clam and ignore them but itf it persists - then tell them to f'ing do one! lol
  • Rachel
    Ofcom providing value for money with their effective watchdog service again, I see. How can these jokers (Ofcom) stay in business without being prosecuted for clearly being in cahoots with a telecomms industry that is corrupt to its core? Their underhanded practices in colluding with dishonest telecommunications providers would make some of the old Soviet puppet states blush.
  • Ferdinand
    That can be really irritating, while companies realized that going extensive on mobile marketing may help their business, they do not consider our privacy at all. This is the downside of Mobile marketing, it can be exploited like the email.
  • esther
    I have loan company's phoning me and texting offering loans I find it really ignoring can you please stop these texts coming though to my phone thanks.
  • esther
    I dont know where the companies got my number but can you stop the texts coming to my phone thanks.
  • Euclides
    hi would like to stop receiving message from loans because i feel like i been bother must of the time.
  • Euclides
    i still being bother about loan messages i just want to stop receiving all the loan messages
  • scum k.
    ive got their IP addy as well m8; and a contact in the industry - these silly motherfuckers - nothing but little pussies! just thieving scum! they think they can hide behind the web system but they cant lol. silly really!
  • Nicole
    If you have an iPhone, as soon as you receive a call/txt, click on the numbers info, scroll down and there is a block option, I went from receiving 50+ texts and calls a day to no calls and possibly 5 texts a day, they do use different disposable numbers so you have to be quick, but mostly it's the same number sending messages regarding different companies/loans that are 'apparently' available to you, when in fact whether you are the correct person they are contact or not, they just want your details to charge a fee as a broker! Hope this helps a few people
  • liza
    nicole ive tried to block them i have a iphone but there is no option and i ve tried to google it but everyone is saying there is no way to block numbers, im getting between 20 and 30 texts a day from loan companys its driving me mad, i even had one at 5.16 am this morning!
  • roelof b.
    If asked once for small loan, now between 60 txts, 20 emails and always between 12.00 - 13.00 and 16.00 - 20.00 about 60 calls a day, very nice when you are in a meeting. have to keep my sound off. best advice in this just ignore the calls, dont pick up when its hidden of when you realy dont know the number, when its a real person they speak to your voicemail. be carefull often 0161; 078, and mostly same numbers with just 2 end numbers changing. I use CIA for android to trace who they are. Oh and beware some loaners uses indian woman callers, thye dont speak properly, dont understand you and be just pushy i am not going to change my number just let them F**k them self with their phone gr
  • roelof b.
    Oh by the way, cia for android will block on your phone, mostly when blocked the phone only rang once. :)
  • DD
    I signed up with one lender and have been inundated with text and calls. I downloaded the Mr. Number app to block all texts and calls and it works great!!! Its better in IMO than Whitepages caller ID. Ive had my number for so long. I hope to just wait it out..

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