Previously, it was eyebrow-raising for me, hearing the caller tunes of some of the staid-folk I call by mobile phone, until l received a text message from phone number 200 on my MTN mobile number, informing me that I had subscribed to their caller tune service, for which reason they would be deducting a relatively minute-sum, from my account.
Yet, I had not subscribed to their caller-tune service by opting for it in deliberate-fashion. Neither had I subscribed to Health Tips for 0.22, as the text message from phone number 947 informed me I had subscribed to, on 03/10/2021, at 20:10. Ditto phone number 295's Story Portal subscription alert, sent on 01/10, 2021 at 12:13. The list goes on and on and on. Endless.
No wonder our MTN recharge top-up units disappear so quickly. Because of such messages my MTN sim's text message inbox is full - and only heaven knows what other text messages from cyber-fraudsters is still flooding it.
The question is: Why should that be happening in our country in the digital age? What is going on? It is an abominable situation to find one's self in, if one counts the pesewas, as many now do, in today's harsh COVID-19 induced economic climate.
Surely, the digital sleight-of-hand enabling such daylight robbery (with millions of unaware-innocent-victims), to occur, ought to be outlawed if it isn't - and vigorously enforced, if it is: by permanently banning the perpetrators of this gigantic cyberfraud from the platforms of all the telcos in Ghana?
Added up, those relatively minuscule sums come to vast sums. The regulatory bodies must ensure that all added third-party services provided by telcos in Ghana, can be delivered by providers, only if subscribers opt in with their eyes fully open - not in the surreptitious manner it now happens in cases such as the 200 caller tune service and the 947 health tips. Are the telcos not obliged to protect their subscribers from such outrageous cyberfraud? MTN must take immediate steps to end the abominable digital-era subscription-fraud on its platform. Haaba.
By Kofi Thompson