Beware of automated phone calls that sign you up to WASPs

An MTN customer recently contacted MyBroadband claiming to have been signed up to a WASP without his consent.

According to the customer, he continually received calls from a landline number and when he answered, it played an automated message telling the customer to “press 1 now”.

The MTN customer said he presumed that the calls were from a marketing campaign, and so he eventually pressed 1 to ask the “campaign” to stop calling him.

The customer said that upon pressing 1, the line went dead, and he received an SMS thanking him for subscribing to a “fantasy league” service at R3 per day.

MTN responds

Following the complaint, MyBroadband contacted MTN about the matter.

MTN executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan told MyBroadband that the customer was not fraudulently subscribed to a WASP – and had agreed to the service’s terms.

The customer received a voice call from an MTN partner that uses an interactive voice response channel to market offerings.

According to O’Sullivan, the call “clearly explains the product and costs involved” and asks the customer to press 1 to give consent.

If the customer presses 1, they are then prompted to press 1 again to confirm their decision to subscribe to the WASP – alternatively, they can press 9 to decline.

MTN also provided MyBroadband with the automated voice call and the confirmation message it said was played to the customer.

These messages can be heard below:

Message 1

Message 2

No explanation of any services – Customer

In response to MTN’s statement, the customer told MyBroadband that they did not hear the audio recordings posted above. He maintains that the automated message said nothing other than “press 1 now”.

Additionally, the MTN customer said the voice they heard was deeper than the one in the supplied automated messages.

They also showed MyBroadband screenshots of their call log, which shows a 12-second call from the WASP’s phone number. The MTN customer argued that the two audio clips provided could not have played out in 12 seconds.

WASP problems

MTN previously told MyBroadband that fraudulent WASP subscriptions are a major problem for mobile operators.

The company said that click-jacking and malware attacks are commonly-used tools to fraudulently subscribe customers to WASPs.

However, in August 2018 MTN said it improved its double opt-in system to prevent customers from being tricked into signing up to WASPs.

MTN customers who are worried about being signed up to WASPs against their will can block premium-rated services by following these steps:

  • Dial *136*5#
  • Select option 2 (Content Services)
  • Select option 2 (Manage Premium Rated Services)
  • Select option 2 (PRS Charges)
  • Select option 1 (Block PRS Charges)

Now read: My MTNChoice data plan out-of-bundle rates hiked

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Beware of automated phone calls that sign you up to WASPs