Tuesday, 25 April 2006

One Way to Stop Nuisance SMS Messages!

Last year I bought a new mobile 'phone through 3CDMA. The allocated number was obviously 'pre-loved' and as a result I have been receiving an ever-diminishing number of unwanted SMS messages and 'phone calls.
There has been one person who gets 'smashed' (his words, not mine) every 6 to 8 weeks and in moments of extreme disorientation resorts to sending messages to 'friends' in the wee hours of the morning. Last Sunday morning I received 3 SMS messages at around 5.00 AM, the first 2 of which were quite sane but the third was, shall we say, not particularly friendly and also containing a colourful range of four letter words.
In the interest of community service I decided to see what could be done to prevent receipt of further messages from this person. The telephone company was unable to help as it does not have technology capable of blocking calls from specific numbers. I then rang my local police station (it was around 10.00 AM by this time) and spoke to a most helpful Constable who explained that there were 2 options I could take if I wanted to go further. The first was to initiate formal procedings, and the second was for her to call the person and suggest that he or she cease the practice. I chose the second.
About 5 minutes after hanging up the 'phone the Constable rang me back to let me know that she'd called the number and left a message for him to call her back at the station. About an hour later the Constable rang me back again to let me know that the person (which for the purpose of the exercise I'll now refer to as SC) had called her back. After explaining to SC (who was 23 years old as it turned out) that it was a Commonwealth offense to make harrassment calls he expressed 'extreme remorse' and assured her he would cease the practice.
For mine, the action taken by the local Constable was superb. And I believe SC will most definitely think again before communicating with his friends in such a manner.
There were some other learnings for me:
1. The approach taken by the police was very balanced in that the first priority was to find out the 'perpetrator's' name and pass it back to me ... in case he or she was known to me.
2. The Constable also asked that I check with the other members of my family to see if they knew SC. After all, it was quite possible one of them my have used my mobile.
3. It occurred to me that SC would know my telephone number and could retaliate if he found out my name and address. Unlikely, of course, but one can't be too careful. Anyway, the greeting I'd recorded on my mobile did include my surname, and I have since changed it so that it is now only my first name.