TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cellular Phone Spam

Re: Cellular Phone Spam

Mark Crispin (MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU)
Mon, 13 Jun 2005 15:38:58 -0700

On Mon, 13 Jun 2005, was written:

> Case in point, last night before bed my phone beeps, I have an
> SMS waiting. This is odd in itself since I rarely get an SMS unless
> I'm at a trade show or other event where people are trying to catch up
> with me. I check the message, and low and behold ... it's spam, and
> not even well targeted spam since it's a message offering me a
> back-to-school loan. What made this one especially annoying is that
> SMS messages aren't free for the most part, I buy 'em in blocks and
> this SMS spam just directly cost me up to a dime! Sure a dime is chump
> change, but I'm a chump who doesn't like being advertised to at my own
> expense.

Call your cell phone provider, tell them the date/time/contents of the
spam, and demand that your account be credited.

If it's Verizon, they may already have done this for you.

If they won't credit you, tell them that you want to close your cell
phone account immediately. You'll get sent over to account retention,
and when they hear that it's over a $.10 charge for SMS spam they'll
credit you. Trust me.

I don't know what happens now that Cingular owns it, but the old AT&T
Wireless didn't charge for incoming SMS. Nor, for that matter, does
Dobson Cellular One (which is who took over my AT&T Wireless account
in Alaska). IIRC, Sprint doesn't charge for incoming SMS either.

> To compound my frustration, this morning before venturing out into the
> unbelievably crazy morning rush hour here in Seattle, (5 miles in 30
> minutes, but that's another story entirely) I check my newly created
> Hotmail account that I plan to use for IM'ing at my new job. Guess
> what, more spam. Already I'm a marketing target and the email address
> is not even 12 hours old.

I had that happen to me. I opened the Hotmail account, never sent
anything on it or announced the email address, yet within a few hours it
was getting porn spam.

I immediately closed it, and told them the reason why. There's some
hole through which spammers are able to collect Hotmail addresses.

-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The very same thing happened to me when
I opened an AOL account a few years ago. 'The hole through which
spammers collect new addresses' is usually some technical employee (at
the email system in question) has cut a deal with some spammer to
provide them with new account names.

I complained about that very same situation regards AOL, a couple
people here on the telecom mailing list (or maybe they were from the
c.d.t. side of things, I do not remember) immediatly poo-poo'ed me and
said "not so, the spammer was using a dictionary attack method". I
guess by coincidence in his forced searching, he had gotten up to the
letter /T/ as in 'Townson' about the time I signed up. It only took
ten minutes after I was installed on AOL for the first of the porn
spams to arrive. All a mere coincidence I was told. And what do you
know ... 'mere coincidence using a dictionary attack' struck again, in
your case at Hotmail within a few hours.

Now do you see why I say those of us who complain vigorously about
spam and make suggestions on ways to end it are treated like imbiciles,
or perhaps mentally-challenged kindergarteners. We are not supposed to
be able to add two plus two and get the right answer. And given the
preponderance of evidence on the net (spammers/virus writers running
rampant, a supervising authority [ICANN] as corrupt as can be, and
many sysadmins who are frankly, too smart for their own good), why
should we think any differently? PAT]

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