Here’s how you can block SMS spam

By Philip de Wet for Business Insider SA

There’s a new do-not-contact database for South Africans who want to prevent SMS spam.

For about 50 cents and five seconds of your time you can now block some – and possibly quite a lot – of SMS spam in South Africa.

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (Waspa) has launched a do-not-contact (DNC) database for its members, who will be obliged to block unsolicited commercial text messages to numbers listed there.

Waspa is a self-regulating body of some 400 members, and it is possible to send bulk SMSes without their help, but its membership represents the companies with the kind of beefy infrastructure needed to send seriously large numbers of SMSes. That suggests a Waspa block could prevent a lot of spam.

Previously, South African consumers had to contend themselves with filing a complaint with Waspa after the fact, if one of its members facilitated spam.

You can go to the DNC website to list yourself as not keen to receive SMS spam – but you’ll need to confirm your South African cellphone number anyway.

Instead, you can just dial *120*69269# to use a USSD service to add the number you call from. That is charged at 20c per 20 seconds. Business Insider South Africa found that, with clumsy typing and a couple of mistakes, it takes about 35 seconds to use that channel, for a total cost of 40 cents.

Or, for 10c more, you can send the word “BLOCK” to 40662 via SMS. That will return a confirmation that your number has been added to the do-not-contact list. That SMS is charged at a maximum of 50 cents, or less depending on your SMS bundle pricing, and takes approximately five seconds.

Waspa members are required to check the DNC list weekly, which means there may be a seven-day delay between adding your number and all spam ending, the organisation warns.

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