South Africans be warned – an SMS campaign which can cost unsuspecting WhatsApp users R210 per month is doing the rounds.
TheTechieGuy, a blog by IT consultant Liron Segev, described a new “scam” where unsuspecting WhatsApp users are encouraged to click on a link which will cost them R7 per day.
The SMS reads “You have not updated to the latest WhatsApp add-ons. Click here now [URL]. (Free MSG) 31655 optout dial 0110621424”.
Clicking on the link takes users to a screen which asks users to “Update your wall 4 WhatsApp”.
The fine print below a green “Continue” button informs people that this is actually a subscription to a social network called Buddiechat, which costs R7 per day.
The concern, Segev said, is that some people may think this is a message to update their WhatsApp service.
How to unsubscribe if you’ve been caught
Since 2011, South Africa’s mobile operators have been rolling out what they call “double opt in” or “event-based billing” systems to try and prevent erroneous or unwitting subscriptions to “services” such as this one.
One of the features added with these new systems is the ability for subscribers to directly manage their subscriptions to so-called “premium content services” offered by Wireless Application Service Providers (Wasps).
If you need to unsubscribe from a Wasp’s service from Cell C, MTN, or Vodacom, here’s how:
- Cell C: Using the USSD string *133*1# subscribers can block all existing and future content billing.
- MTN: Dial *141*5# and select which services to unsubscribe from.
- Vodacom: Vodacom users can unsubcribe from all Wasp services by sending “STOP ALL” to 30333.