PTA, Please Save Pakistani Nation from SMS Spammers

SMS marketing is a great and effective tool to disseminate information, update customers and reach out to a larger audience. Unfortunately in Pakistan, SMS marketing is more spam than anything. Each day, countless messages are sent to hapless people who have no option to unsubscribe. We ask this from PTA: why is a free hand being given to spammers?

Previously (back in 2009-10), the authority had plans to implement a ‘Do Not Disturb’ list which would ensure no spam calls/SMS once a user registered with it.

Other countries already maintain such directories and registering is trivial. However, there have been zero developments on it so far.

We should mention that spam messages aren’t restricted to shady marketers. Even telcos are guilty of it. There have been days where promotional messages from my telecom provider have numbered over a dozen. It adds up to a poor customer experience not to mention the constant interruption at work or during times of leisure.

The only step taken to combat SMS spam from PTA was back in 2012, when they announced that service on a SIM would be terminated if more than 200 SMS were sent within a 15 minute period. That step is not a deterrent because bulk restriction is for mobile phone users — as anyone sending more than 200 SMS in 15 minutes gets blocked — but SMS solutions from telcos and online solutions can easily bypass that restriction.

We ask the PTA: why is a free hand being given to spammers?

This has always been an issue but recently, we have noticed a sudden rise in spam messages. Private marketers used to send messages for authentic items. That has changed recently as fraud schemes, fake items, illegal products are also being marketed publicly.

It is now the responsibility of the authorities to stop such messages and apprehend the criminals behind it.

The issue is exacerbated by the casual attitude most people have about privacy. Most of us don’t hesitate in handing out our numbers whether it’s for an item being sold at OLX, getting information about the latest sale at Levi’s and so on. Simply scraping online job boards and marketplaces can net you a sizeable database of people you can pummel with information about your product or service.

The problem isn’t limited to personal carelessness either. Telecom companies share number lists with their partners or their employees end up selling thousands of numbers for small amounts of money. Some of the lists are easily available in the markets as well. Other sources, which leak people’s private information, are registration services in events and competitions.

Unfortunately, once your details fall into the wrong hands, their is no way to stop these spam messages. There’s no option to opt out and it’s time PTA seriously consider curbing this menace of SMS spam that’s cluttering our phones.

Talal is a Director at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]

  • SSyar

    kasmay azaab hey yar.,

  • Desi

    Dont think PTA can do much. worldwide issue…..only Google or Apple can help

    • Naseer

      If you lack the knowledge about how these things work then please refrain from commenting. These Text Messsages can be traced back to the message centres and their servers and be blocked by the PTA. PTA has all the power to do such a thing, they’re just being lazy and spending their time blocking and banning important things. Nothing to do with “Apple” or “Google”

    • Muhammed Ovais Alam

      Nashay main rehtay ho jab tum nasha nahi krte.

    • Arsalan Shah

      What about Microsoft for WindowsOS, or Blackberry for BlackberryOS? LOL. How can Google help in Benazir Income Support Schemes, and Ufone sending me 20 messages a day?!?

      • Nemesis

        I get 20-30 spams messages per day, ummm how much will it be for a year ?

  • Shaaf

    I started getting spam sms once I placed an ad on OLX. So I recommend people should avoid disclosing their primary number on public sites.

    • Fayez Najeeb

      Same here. Insane amount of messages since i posted ad on OLX.

  • Yasir Mahmood

    Online Barter and Sell/Purchase Sites are a big source for getting someone’s Detail upto valid Mobile no and Full names ,sometimes full address as well

  • Hamid khan

    me to yar Telenor k MSGs se Tang hun, ek hi PKG ka Roz 3 3 baar SMS karte han, mene 3 4 baar Complain b ki ha k muje ni Janna Ap k PKG, kehte han Remove kardia, per phr ate rehte han :/

  • Ishtiaq

    I get almost 50 sms everyday, yes i used to purchase from yayvo, daraz, cheez, kfc, foodpanda etc. N now even the real estate sms i get. Sometimes witribe n other dealers msgs.

  • Khalid

    Bahut sms atay hain,

  • Sohaib Razzaq

    I had this problem couple of years ago, i called telenor customer service and asked them not to send me ANY message, he said ok and we are so sorry and bla bla bla. Two days later i was getting the same amount of messages.
    Easiest solution is google hangouts, whenever i see any kind of message from 4 digit number i immediately block it, my block list is 100+ now.
    I still get spam and advertising messages every now and then but its strength is now 2-3 a day instead of 20+ daily.

    • A. Khakwani

      That definitely works for senders with a proper number but I don’t think same cannot be done for companies that do not use 4-digit numbers for such messages. I get a promotional message or two from “DREAMWORLD” (entertainment park in Karachi; no idea how they got my number) every other day; no number. PTA can’t even enforce such a simple policy.

      And even worse are the company’s own messages. I got an Easypaisa account a few months ago and they bombard the same promotional messages several times everyday. And I can’t even block them since they also send account details and other important stuff through same number.

      • Sohaib Razzaq

        Nope, it works for everything else. The reason why i moved from samsungs basic messaging app to google hangouts. You can block anyone from sending you messages in google hangouts, doesn’t matter if it has number or name. I can even block messages from Telenor if i want to.
        Try it, it will surely save you from a lot of headache and spams.

  • Syed Shah

    download true message app , best filter of spam messages

    • Muhammad Abrar Naeem

      Exactly. one of the best app for filtering spam messages. And True caller identifies the unknown number in most of the cases. Both apps are recommended

  • Uzair Ghani

    I bought a SIM from Telenor for data use only the other day. Never gave the number to anyone, and I didn’t even knew myself what the number was for the SIM. A few minutes later I received an SMS for a cheap Qubee connection. And later that same day I received a spam SMS again for a cheap Wi-Tribe connection. Now please explain to me Telenor and PTA how this number got out? The failure of this government and the organizations that lurk around freely is so evident on all levels yet they ask us for proof of this nonsense. PTA itself is a massive failure. They will never curb spam SMS, after all, they do end up making money and why would anyone put their foot on the neck of their income? Good luck finding your version of PTA that works in accordance with morally understood laws.

    • Syed Shah

      for data sim use zong and see the difference


      Galti unki b ni hogi, Spam wale Ziada Tar ek ek Number Dekh k MSG ni karte, Poori Poori Series ko MSG karte han. Plus Number Re Issue hote Rehte han, to hoskta ha k Pehle jis k paas ho ye Number usne Dia ho sabko :D

  • Fawad Hassan

    Use any SMS app which have “Block” feature :)

  • Sajjad Ashraf

    Spammers to alag ye phone companies walay promotional messages bhej bhej k dimagh kharab kar detay hain, we are not using their services for free damn it

  • Waqas Tariq

    Oh man! I am sick and tired of receiving 10-15 spam SMS messages daily. I am ready to just block all my SMS if this doesn’t stop. These days I call, facebook, name and try to shame any and all companies that SMS me.

    Daraz is one heck of a SPAM bot, I regret ordering from it 2 years back. The stupid people wont take my name of their SMS SPAM list even after multiple calls, facebook messages and all.

    PLEASE PTA, SAVE US from these devils!!!

  • Waqas Tariq

    You should also write about companies like Mobilink/Jazz/Zong etc they charge us for the call to help line, but make us listen to there bull crap adverts before we can move on to get the help we PAID for in advance.

    And then the fact that when you call someone rather than a number busy you first get to hear their shi^y advert… infuriating. Pathetic scum they all are.

  • I get spam calls from zong every day. I can block sms in Android Lollipop but how do I block calls?

    • Taha Najam

      Open a contact, tap the 3 dot menu in the corner and tap reject calls.

      • No option in my moto G Android lollipop. I did btw add all spam numbers to one contact and set ring tone to none and set option “divert to voice mail”. Let’s see if it works. Thanks though

  • Haris

    The biggest mistake I made was to give my mobile number to some stalls at the so-called Dawn Educational Expo. From that day on, my life hasn’t been the same, with several messages daily from all sorts of advertisers.

  • Bilal Iqbal

    aisy lgta hay jaisy logo ko or koi kam nahi hy.. siway SMS bhaijny k… or is ka result yahi hy k aisa sms aaty hi delete krny ko dil krta hay…

  • Imad Memon

    We won’t get rid of spam SMS until the businesses stop selling customer information to marketing companies for a few pennies. I know for a fact that Hyderabad Gymkhana Club and Chenab Club, Faisalabad sell its member’s contact information on CD to marketing companies.

  • Muhammed Ovais Alam

    Continuously receiving message for Practical Centre from different numbers for a week now.
    Don’t know why institute like Practical Centre needs this cheap and spam marketing to get some admissions.

  • Aamir BB

    F U C K PTA. Benazir Income Support ko to pakar nahi sake yeh kia kar sakte han uneducated people in PTA

  • Nemesis

    I don’t give a damn about PTA…. Just use go sms keyword blocker…

  • Amjad hussain

    Also Telecom Companies send many SMS Daily.Is it not Considered as spaming?

  • Sumeet Kumar

    Sabse pehle to ye pata lagao, k ye load wali asma, saba aur ayesha kon hain o.o

  • jawwad

    naseer you seems to be a pseudo intellectual, don’t be please they could be tracked but don’t you know it works like auto messaging on random numbers.. PTA doesnot have so much to redeemed those numbers… if they going to block them that they will only work on this nothing else..

  • farhan

    low cost, cheap marketing .. acha hai yar pakistan mein ya.. awam ab news channels mein ad too day nai skati ..