Bahrain's telecom watchdog launches facility to block spam

Mobile users in Bahrain who are targets of bulk messaging services can now contact 88444 in order to block certain numbers to avoid any spam text messages.

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A man uses a mobile phone at Shibuya crossing.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A man uses a mobile phone at Shibuya crossing.

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Bahrain’s telecom watchdog has launched a free number to reduce spam messages.

Mobile users in the country who are targets of bulk messaging services can now contact 88444 in order to block certain numbers to avoid any spam text messages.

This can be done by sending the word ‘block’ followed by the number of the e-marketing or spam message sender, and to resume the messages users can send ‘unblock’ followed by the sender’s number.

The unified free number was launched by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in co-operation with mobile network operators in the country.

“TRA recognises the importance of addressing this issue with the increasing and evolving communication and advertising technologies for e-marketing,” said TRA acting general director Shaikh Nasser bin Mohamed Al Khalifa in a statement issued yesterday.

Privacy

“This number is an additional step in unifying efforts to protect the privacy of individuals from spam messages.”

The TRA has also urged all organisations using bulk messaging service to ensure their contracted service provider complies with the country’s Bulk Messaging Regulations.

One of the stipulations states that consumers who have expressly consented can receive solicited bulk messages in the appropriate time between the hours of 9am and 8pm Bahrain time.

The TRA also said in the statement that some smart phones have a technical feature in the settings to block spam messages and enable consumers to stop notifications of messages from the sender and archive them immediately.

“TRA urges all consumers to beware from providing their direct numbers for marketing and to read through the terms and conditions set by all the places that require to provide them with their direct numbers,” added the statement.

Report

“TRA strongly advises consumers to communicate with the sender to opt them out or block them through using the unified number 88444 and follow the steps herein.

“TRA urges consumers to report any complaint regarding this matter by directly contacting the Consumer Contact Centre on 81188 or visiting the Consumer Portal on TRA’s website.”

The GDN reported last month that spam text messages being received from abroad are expected to reduce drastically following the removal of a flat fee across all mobile network operators.

In February last year, mobile phone users were advised to ignore hoax calls, text messages and e-mails informing them they had won a lottery.

The GDN also previously reported that Interpol had been brought in to track down conmen in China, India and Pakistan who were allegedly targeting Bahrain with mobile phone scams.

In addition, a gang of Syrian refugees in Jordan went on trial in connection with a racket targeting phone customers in Bahrain.

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