Telemarketing hazards

February 13, 2020

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TELEMARKETING is on the increase and has made lives of mobile phone holders difficult as they often receive unknown calls from strangers and uncalled-for text messages from unregistered companies operating their business from bungalows.

It is obvious that unscrupulous elements involved in such activities have access to the directory of private mobile numbers in connivance with cellular companies, which is the only source of disclosing private mobile numbers, for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) regulations do not allow the printing of mobile phone directory in Pakistan.

There are three possibilities of acquiring mobile phone numbers — directly from the mobile phone holder, indirectly via a relative, friend or office, and from the network provider, which has the entire customer data.

The possibility of seeking cellphone numbers is little from phone number holder or his friends, relatives and office, leaving cellular companies as the only source of acquiring mobile phone numbers. This is possible by offering monetary incentive to the cellular companies.

Such disclosures are being misused to call anonymously for telemarketing on mobile phones, and at times, on private landline numbers.

Usually, such inbound calls have four-digit numbers with pre-recorded voice messages. Additionally, fictitious text messages are flashed as if receiver called them earlier. It is followed by female voices from different mobile and landline numbers as part of their sales promotion.

Orders for consumer items are fictitiously booked, certain items dispatched mysteriously by such telemarketers, alleging that the consignee placed the orders via a website or Facebook. This is, in fact, done by using leaked mobile numbers without the knowledge, consent and placement of order by the consignee, leading to serious repercussions.

The PTA should take note of it and ask all private cellular companies to strictly maintain secrecy of their customers’ mobile numbers.

Hasan Adil Malik

Karachi

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020