Archive for the ‘SMS as Business’ category

SMS Sweepstakes Scam

29 March 2010

SMSnia is a UK website (run by a Czech company) that awards various prizes to lucky readers who send text messages to specific phone numbers. For example, a recent sweepstakes offered each 800th SMS to win a Combo Fridge Freezer by Baumatic. Here is a screenshot of the alleged fridge-freezer:

baumatic washer dryer combo

I know what you are thinking, “Damn if that fridge-freezer doesn’t look like a washer-dryer!” Well, that’s what it is, a combo washer-dryer from Baumatic. One wonders what refrigerators must look like in the Czech Republic that no one noticed the mistake. Actually, since it is a lottery scam (the SMS messages cost the sender money), it really doesn’t matter what the prize is.

Sweepstakes like this one are illegal under U.S. federal law for American citizens to play because it is no different than a lottery.

If it isn’t conducted by a government or government-authorized organization (and by a government I mean a real government, not Nigeria), it cannot be a legitimate lottery.

Now if one wants to combine SMS into a legitimate business, here’s just one great idea: a pill bottle cap that sends an SMS to you or a designated relative if you forget to take your medicine at a prescribed time:

textually.org, Pill Bottle Cap Sends SMS: Take your Meds

If the bottle isn’t opened at the appointed time, the cap and night light start blinking to remind the owner to take the medication. If that doesn’t serve as enough of a hint, they start playing jingles as well. If the bottle stays unopened, the night light will send a message to Vitality’s system, which can then place an automated phone call or send a text message with a reminder.