Are you one of those who gets annoying spam all day, every day from companies over SMS? Have you ever wondered how they even obtained your number in order to include you in such a devious plan to get you to buy into something you don’t need?
Well, you’re certainly not alone, and yes, we’ve all yelled at our phone at some point, usually when we’re having a bad day, or when you’re expecting a message from someone else, only to find a message personally addressed to you regarding a loan or some special of sorts. You hold the phone firmly in one hand about 30cm away from your face and yell “NO, I don’t want your damn quote and YES I do want to reply STOP!”.
While you’re reading this article, there are individuals currently making money by selling consumer information to all those who are after it. Whether it be for marketing purposes, debt collecting or any reason whatsoever, companies will pay decent money to get their grubby paws on databases full of private information while turning a blind eye to how this went about being acquired. If you happen to find yourself being overloaded each day with all these SMS’s, you can be sure that you have fallen prey to the sale of your details amongst many different users.
It's not all bad though
True, let’s say that one should have the desire to take out a loan or obtain a comparative quote for insurance purposes… We might be inclined to investigate our avenues online or via referrals as and when we’re in the position to do so, and no amount of text messages are going to suddenly surge a person into applying for a loan if they weren’t already in the market (so to speak) to apply for one! However, we are only human beings and we tend to act on emotion, so on a very difficult day financially, when this little-unexpected gem of a text appears on your phone screen, saying “Having a rough time financially? Well, Miss ABC, you are pre-approved for an R150 000 loan at your preferred bank, apply today and breathe tomorrow!” Well, it doesn’t say exactly that, but you get the point.
At this particular moment, you are statistically far more inclined to take down the details of that SMS and contact your banker if you are in fact not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s be honest, marketing works, that’s why we have it and while it might encourage weak people to fold, it also offers an opportunity for people who are in the right position to take advantage of the opportunity. Loans aren’t to be seen in a negative light, many positive outcomes are derived from loans that assisted people in a way that they needed in order to change their lives.
The marketing SMS’s are known to come fast and furiously into your inbox though, and a lot of the time people are uncertain of which offers are legitimate and which might be leading you into a trap – i.e. scams. There are a few things to consider when deciding if the SMS offer is just spam or a scam.
One of them is if you have been offered a loan and are asked to pay any fees upfront in order to get the loan amount approved or paid out, it would be wise to call the company that the SMS came from to inquire about the fees. No company will ask for fees to be paid via SMS.
In recent times there are have been a number of loan scams in South Africa. Scammers use the name of reputable lenders in SA to forge loan documents. The letterheads looked legitimate, there were responses to the messages that were sent to them based on the marketing tools used, and all in all, it was an extremely convincing scam.
But they asked for fees upfront for an Attorney, which is not the standard procedure of the company in question. This is the red flag that we should all have on our radars. You shouldn’t ever have to pay money upfront in order to receive money. Do your homework and avoid being a victim!