Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spoofing For Charity... or Not

The media is reporting a lot about SMS charities. You send a text message to a certain number and your cell phone company bills you $10 or whatever. The company keeps a percentage or flat fee and passes the rest on to a charity. It’s a very convenient way for charities to get money. Of course it’s huge for Haiti charities.

What if you set up your own SMS “charity”. Then you get yourself a PBX system that can send text messages with whatever caller/sender number you want. You then send out texts to thousands of cell numbers with the caller/sender as your charity number. The messages you send are those that are likely to illicit a response, even if just a “WTF?”. Perhaps they say, “Where are you?” or “Who is this?” or “I just found out she’s bi” or “Mom’s dead” (thanks Aaron). People reply to ask you who you are or what you’re talking about and boom you just made $10.

Maybe if you’re nice(ish) you spoof the number of a real charity. Of course, a lot of those people would want it taken off their bill which means it would have to be taken back from the charity. This would really be the opposite of nice(ish).

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