In an attempt the cut down the huge number of unsolicited text messages being sent to mobile phone subscribers, Globe Telecom has filed before the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) what is believed to be the first case against text spamming in the country.
In a statement, the Ayala-owned mobile operator said the filing of the complaint against notorious text spammer Caritas Shield is part of its crackdown on companies involved in sending unsolicited text advertisements.
Globe has asked the NTC to order Caritas Shield the payment of the appropriate fines and penalties for sending text spam to Globe subscribers. Globe also asked the NTC to permanently bar Caritas, its agents and employees from sending these spam texts to Globe customers.
Globe general counsel Froilan Castelo said other companies whose agents employ marketing strategies that involve sending text spams will be dealt with similarly.
In the complaint filed against Caritas with the NTC, Globe said Caritas should be immediately stopped from sending text spams and asked that a cease and desist order be issued by the regulatory body against Caritas.
As a prepaid subscriber of Globe, Caritas has violated the terms and conditions specified in the User?s Guide set by the telecommunications company for its prepaid SIMs, according to the mobile operator.
Specifically, the User?s Guide stipulates that subscribers should ?not use the prepaid service, handset, SIM cards, call & text card for any fraudulent or abusive purpose.?
Caritas has been sending spam text messages to Globe and TM subscribers, soliciting and enticing them to avail of its health care and insurance products.
Text spams coming from Caritas have adversely affected the reputation of the company against its customers and caused ?massive irritation? to Globe subscribers, resulting in numerous complaints with its customer service department.
One text spam from Caritas reads as follows: ?Caritas Health Shied Inc. offers a pre-approved comprehensive health card with money-back guarantee. If you?re interested, please reply with your name, age and address. Our health consultant will assist you shortly.?
Many subscribers complain of getting an average of 5 to 10 text spams a day. Spam messages are usually sent by prepaid numbers as they are untraceable and are easily disposable.
Spammers also don?t need specific numbers to send spam messages to as they make use of USB GSM modems and they spam number ranges. Legitimate text blasts approved by the regulating agency are properly identified and do not carry 11-digit numbers.
?The clamor of customers to combat spam messages has become a matter of public interest so the NTC should use all its disciplinary powers against spammers like Caritas,? Globe stressed in the complaint.
The crackdown versus companies involved in text spams follows an information drive launched by Globe in January this year aimed at educating subscribers on how to deal with irritating text spams.
The information drive resulted in a surge of mobile numbers deactivated from Globe service in the first four months of the year. As of April this year, Globe said it barred from its network a total of 384 mobile numbers. This number is 11-percent higher than the total number of mobile numbers blocked from the network for the whole of 2013.
?We expect this number to increase further as Globe continues to step up its drive versus annoying and bothersome text spams. We would like to assure our subscribers that the company will continue to amplify our campaign until we have substantially reduced, if not eliminated, this problem,? Castelo said.
The telecommunications provider has put in place several channels through which subscribers can report text spams. Subscribers may report via the Globe website through Talk2Globe Chat; send a message through Globe Contact Form and by tweeting @Talk2GLOBE on Twitter.
Subscribers can put in the number, the exact message, and the time and date the text spam was received. Numbers that are reported to be source of text spams are first sent warnings and those that are persistent source of text spams are deactivated from the service.
Customers can also keep themselves from getting text spams through their own devices.
iOS users may block unwanted numbers by opening the message, clicking the Contact button at the right hand corner, clicking the ?i? next to the number they wish to block. They can then scroll down to the bottom of the page where they will see the option ?Block this caller? and then click to confirm.
For Android users, subscribers may block spam through their gadget?s filtering settings: Go to Settings, press the Spam Message Settings, click ?Add to Spam Numbers? and add spammers? numbers. They may also choose to actively block by inputting commonly used spam phrases and adding it to the ?Add to Spam Phrases? list.